Many times over the course of my life I’ve felt prompted to: pray for someone in person, give them a specific word and share a vision or a scripture. I’ve also felt called to step out of my comfort zone and: change career paths, start a business, take a leadership role in ministry and give of my time and resources to others. I’d love to say that I jumped at every single one of these promptings and callings and obeyed immediately. But, the truth is, I didn’t…
What about you? Has God called you to do something specific and you hesitated or decided not to do it?
There are three things that stand out to me about Mary’s character in today’s devotional of Luke 1:36-55:
In order to have all three of these qualities, one has to believe.
Gabriel has just shared the news that God has found favor with Mary and He has called her to be the mother to the Son of the Most High. In Luke 1:38, Mary responds to Gabriel’s message by saying, “Behold, I am the handmaiden of the Lord; let it be done to me according to what you have said.” As we know from yesterday’s devotional, Mary certainly had some fears, questions and doubts about Gabriel’s message. But, within the same moments of the angel visiting her, Mary swiftly obeyed and said “yes” to God’s call. I don’t know about you, but maybe I would have asked Gabriel for a week to think about it. Or, maybe I would have asked Gabriel for some type of sign or confirmation that this could actually happen BEFORE accepting God’s call. But not Mary, she thought it through quickly and jumped. She just went all in. Right there. Full of faith and trusting God’s word – she believed. Wow – what an inspiration!
The second thing that stands out to me is Mary’s wisdom in Luke 1:36, 39-40, “And listen! Your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is now the sixth month with her who was called barren… And at that time Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country to a town of Judah, And she went to the house of Zachariah and, entering it, saluted Elizabeth.” Gabriel had delivered a word from God that Mary would become pregnant and that her cousin, Elizabeth (who was barren), was already six months pregnant. Elizabeth becoming pregnant would have been humanly impossible for a barren woman. Her pregnancy would have been an absolute miracle. I believe that Gabriel shares the news of Elizabeth’s pregnancy with Mary to assure her that nothing is impossible with God (verse 37), including conceiving as a virgin, and as a prompt for Mary to go see for herself. Seeing Elizabeth would have provided hope and encouragement for Mary to believe in the power of God. AFTER accepting the call from God, Mary promptly travels to visit Elizabeth to confirm the prophecy Gabriel had delivered. I admire her wisdom to confirm the prophecy she received and her desire to witness the miracle of conception.
Do you often wait for some type of confirmation BEFORE being obedient to God’s call?
Once Mary sees Elizabeth, a super cool thing happens – the baby in Elizabeth’s womb leaps for joy at the sound of Mary’s voice and Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit. This confirms Mary as the mother of the Savior and she believes. Mary spends verses 46-55 thanking and praising God as she now knows that the prophecy of Gabriel is true. So often, I think it is easy to receive a blessing from God and either forget to return thanks or do it quickly – after all, we have to get back to our busy life and putting our blessings to work! But, Mary turns her thankfulness into a beautiful moment of worship to the Lord. How incredible of her? Mary reminds me to pause and be thankful for what I have and to take the time out to truly worship the Lord for all He has done in my life.
I believe that the ability to conceive and have children is truly a gift. When I say “have children”, I don’t just mean the babies we deliver ourselves. There are plenty of mothers out there who have adopted children and they are equally a blessing and a gift. We can so easily take motherhood for granted – especially when our kids act up or when the baby won’t stop crying. We have to be intentional about being thankful for our role as mothers each day, especially when the “going gets rough”.
If you are pregnant, pause for a moment and thank God for the blessing he has given you and your family. You may be anxious. You may be excited. You may be scared to death. But God is with you and has chosen YOU specifically to be the mother to another human being. How awesome is that? You already have everything you need to be a great mother to your child – believe it.
If you already have a child or children, take a moment to thank God for them. Maybe you are having a rough day as a mom and struggling to find something to be thankful for. Don’t overlook even the smallest of things like how they put on their shoes or the sound of their voice. Because of being on IV Magnesium for pre-eclampsia, Leo was born with respiratory depression and came out silent, gray and dusky. Although I knew this was likely, I can’t explain the terror that went through me in that moment. Brett cut the cord quickly and four pediatricians whisked our tiny baby to the other side of the room to work on him. I prayed for what seemed like an eternity before I finally heard him cry out for the first time. There isn’t a day or late night that I don’t thank God he has the lung function to cry or scream. On the rougher days of motherhood, it may require us to reach further and deeper for thankfulness and that is okay. Often times those qualities in our children that drive us crazy are the exact thing they need to fulfill their calling as adults. Each child is given a unique gifting and a purpose. What a privilege it is to raise them and help them to live out those gifts and fulfill God’s plan for their lives!
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Meet me back here tomorrow for day 4 of our miniseries as we chat about the birth of Jesus!