In the spirit of Christmas, I’ve taken some time to reflect on the incarnation of Christ and the courage of one couple to say “yes” and change the world.
The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. Luke 1:28-29
I can relate. I’m pretty sure if an angel appeared before me with greetings I would be a little frightened.
But the angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” Luke 1:30-33
Yeah, that sounds pretty cool.
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. Luke 1:38
And this is where I stand amazed.
You see, Mary did ask a question in between these verses. She said, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” That seems like a logical question. The angel explains that the Holy Spirit will come upon her and she will carry the Son of God. And then Mary says, “I am your servant, may your word be fulfilled.”
Courage. This girl had courage. She didn’t sit there and argue with the angel about all her plans, her hopes and her dreams… she simply said, Let it Be; or in other words, Yes. There are so many things between the angel and the throne that she could have questioned. Had she known there would be the cross, the pain, the rejection – would her response still have been yes? I am in awe of this woman.
So often I find myself questioning God and this call on our lives. Our current placement was birthed in a dream. I consistently go back and want to ask God for more, a better picture of how this is going to play out, what to expect and mostly – will there be pain? But I am given courage by the words of Mary whose response was simply, “may your word to me be fulfilled.”
Sure, an invitation to be the mother of God’s Son is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, I’ll give her that – but imagine what risks she took in saying yes. She risked her marriage – what if Joseph didn’t believe her? She risked her reputation – how would anyone believe this baby came from the Holy Spirit? She risked her family – these kinds of things were greatly frowned upon in those days. She.risked.everything. Yet, she said Yes. And through her obedience and the obedience of Joseph came my salvation and the savior of the world. Thank you Mary. Thank you for your Yes.
God could have done this in a different way; but he chose this couple for their unique part in His Larger Love Story. It wasn’t all glory and fame. There was pain. I mean, can you imagine raising Jesus? Or being Jesus’ brother or sister. No pressure guys.
Now, I’m not Mary and I’m no saint. But 18 weeks ago I gave somewhat of a “yes” to a call that was way out of my league. As I look at these three little angel faces I can’t help but wonder – will you change the world? I don’t know all the details between the dream and the end… all I know is that I have been called to love, unconditionally.
We half-way expected our girls to be going home by now. We had been prepared to say good-bye before Christmas. But the world is a fallen place and things have changed once again. We are now planning to be a safe-place longer than we were expecting and we continue to trust God for His purposes.
In October, God reminded me of the verses in Isaiah, here it is in the Message:
“I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work.” God’s decree. “For as the sky soars high above the earth, so the way I work surpasses the way you work, and the way I think is beyond the way you think. Just as rain and snow descend from the skies and don’t go back until they’ve watered the earth, doing their work of making things grow and blossom, producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry, So will the words that come out of my mouth not come back empty-handed. They’ll do the work I sent them to do, they’ll complete the assignment I gave them. So you’ll go out in joy, you’ll be led into a whole complete life. The mountains and hills will lead the parade, bursting with song. All the trees of the forest will join the procession, exuberant with applause. No more thistles, but giant sequoias, no more thornbushes, but stately pines – Monuments to me, to God, living and lasting evidence of God.” Isaiah 55:8-13
Our prayer has been that God’s purposes will be accomplished in this situation, realizing that we don’t know what that means. It may be a bigger calling than we first thought. It might be smaller. All I know is our heart’s desire is to say “yes” even when I can’t answer the questions of “how will this be”?
Friends, I cannot express how grateful I am for your love, your prayers and your support. Even as you watch our girls wander around the church, disrupting life and laughing at themselves, you have loved us well. We are honored to be loving them but grateful that you have chosen to walk with us. Please pray for continued wisdom and protection. And as you reflect on your own story, consider what God may be calling you into that seems too big… what would it look like to say ” I am your servant, may your word to me be fulfilled.”
Who knows? You just might change the world.