With God…

She was wiping tears away as she walked quietly out of the sanctuary. I understood. Her father had just passed away, and we were singing of Heaven. “Filled with wonder, awestruck wonder at the mention of His name.” For a moment, I continued singing and then I considered checking on her just in case she needed anything – even just a hug. I slipped out of the sanctuary and found her in the hallway with tear-filled eyes but a welcoming smile. She shared that the first hymn of the morning had been played at her father’s funeral earlier in the week. Then, when the Revelation Song began – that was it. She needed a moment to gather herself and reign in the overwhelming emotion that had come bubbling to the surface. I gave her a hug. She breathed deeply and wiped a few more tears away. Bittersweet moments. The promise of heaven partnered with the reality of letting go of the known for the unknown.

Was that what it was like for Mary, the mother of Jesus, when Gabriel broke the news to her about her new reality? As fear threatened to overtake her, did tears well up in her eyes? Did her heart race as frantic thoughts came rushing into her mind - “What about Joseph?” “What about the wedding?” “What will my parents say?” Did she too have to take a deep breath and try to gain her composure as she faced this overwhelming news? Gabriel’s words of reassurance had to be hard for Mary to absorb initially. “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you. Do not be afraid.” (Luke 1:28, 30) I can’t even start to comprehend what might have been going on in Mary’s heart and mind at that moment. How do you wrap your head around this experience? I think I would be clinging on to the words, “Do not be afraid.” After all, isn’t that what we all want to hear when life hits us with unexpected change?

As Mary calms and begins to comprehend Gabriel’s message, that the long-awaited Messiah would now be an intricate part of her life, it is no wonder that her first response to this news was an astonished “How will this be since I am a virgin?” (Luke 1:34) It is actually amazing that as Mary’s mind swirled with the news of her impending pregnancy that she summed up her thoughts with a very basic question, “Are you sure?” (my paraphrase) – and yet, said without an attitude. Then, as Gabriel further unfolded God’s plan, Mary responded in humble submission saying, “I am the Lord’s servant.” (Luke 1:38) We don’t know how quickly Mary was able to go from troubled to peaceful, but her actions are a tremendous testimony to her resiliency and her unwavering faith. If this is God’s will, then I’ll trust Him.

And because God is God and He loves us so much, He blessed Mary with someone who could walk with her on her journey of faith – Elizabeth. Gabriel reassures Mary of the miracle that she would soon experience with news of Elizabeth’s miraculous pregnancy. Then, this heavenly messenger wraps up his life-changing news with the proclamation that “Nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37) What an amazing God we serve, but do we believe the angel’s words? Do we truly believe that with God nothing is impossible? 

Our call, like Mary's is this: 

No matter what God’s will is for our lives, with God, we can find the strength to face each day, each life-altering challenge and each joyful adventure!

As we move closer to Christmas this year, most likely each of us will face some bittersweet moments. Relationships that are strained. Loved ones who have passed away. Unmet dreams and aspirations. Fear of the unknown. No matter what today holds, may we each live our lives with a humble and submissive spirit toward the One who holds our future. May we truly embrace our reality as believers in Jesus Christ and daily affirm that we really do believe that 

with God...nothing is impossible!  


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