I don’t like surprises. Even good ones. As a child, I would cry when well-meaning relatives would have the servers in a restaurant sing “Happy Birthday” to me. I’d probably do the same thing now. I like my restaurant meals and life in general to be safe, predictable, and steady.
In short, I am not one of those people who joyfully embrace the surprises God gives us all from time to time.
Mary and I have that in common. I’ve never thought of us as on the same page. Me and one of the great women of the Bible? Yeah, right.
Mary was planning a very ordinary, safe life for herself as a carpenter’s wife in Nazareth, a completely accepted and expected life for a young Jewish woman of the time period. When an angel showed up to tell her that God had bigger plans for her, she cheerfully accepted, right?
Not exactly. Like so many great figures of the Bible, Mary has become larger than life in our eyes, a human above and beyond our feelings and shortcomings. A look at Scripture usually reveals that those used by God are a lot like, well, us.
Mary was “greatly troubled” at the news she received. She needed to think about it.
She reacted just like I or all the other play-it-safe people in the world would. With anxiety. With fear. With questioning.
To live an extraordinary life as earthly mother to the Messiah, Mary had to let go of her ordinary expectations.
Letting go is hard. It means saying “yes” to the unknown, the adventurous, the threatening. It means saying “yes” to faith and hope and trust in the unseen.
Mary said “yes” despite her doubts because she knew Who was in charge of this great, exciting journey of life.
She had the wisdom to know she wasn’t in charge.
Saying yes didn’t mean the easy life. Mary had to face the shame of unwed motherhood, the questions, the rumors, the stares. She faced childbirth alone in a barn far from the comforts of home.
About 33 years later, she watched that innocent firstborn get crucified.
But she also watched the miracle of humanity’s redemption come to pass when that same firstborn conquered death and walked out of that grave alive and triumphant.
What’s better? The safe life we crave or the adventure God has in store for us?
It seems like such an easy choice. But it isn’t, when strong desires for a comfortable life and secure relationships with others stand in the way of Godly wisdom and surrender to the unknown.
Saying “yes” is a journey and a sacrifice, one the mother of our Savior knew well.
Let go of safety and let God take the reins. At least take the first step with a tentative “yes” to God’s will, not your own. Follow Jesus step by step, because He will never send you down the wrong path.
Go ahead, the still small voice of our loving heavenly Father says. You can do it. One step, one moment at a time. We are His beloved works in progress.
Blog entry by: Nancy Vasquez