And Mary said, "Behold, the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word." Luke 1:38
This Sunday, I have been thinking about the Virgin Mary. I've been taught that Mary would have been a young teenager at the time the angel came to her to announce that she was going to have God's Son. Before this totally weird and other-worldly interaction took place, I imagine that Mary, like most young women, probably had plans for her own life that didn't involve becoming a social pariah. But, when the angel came and brought her this miraculous news, she accepted it right away.
I know that I wouldn't have responded as Mary did. I'm a lot older than Mary, and I still struggle almost daily with how other people see me. Scripture tells us that Mary had favor with God, which is why He chose her to be Jesus' mom. One of the aspects of her person that must have charmed God's heart was her willingness to completely buy into His plan. I think this is profoundly stated in Mary's song, recorded in Luke 1:47-55. Verse 48 declares, "from henceforth all generations will call me blessed." Mary was right about that. Future generations have considered her a saint or, at the very least, a woman of God to be admired. But what about the generation that she was in? Being pregnant out of wedlock in her culture was a big deal. She could have been stoned to death. Fortunately God, through Joseph, stepped in and kept that from happening, but I'm sure her reputation was obliterated, along with the rest of her family's.
Yesterday, as Andy and I were driving in the car, I commented on how I have lived a lot of years with the expectation that my life will one day, magically, fall completely into order. My checkbook will be plump, but not my waistline. My home will be warm and inviting, but not chaotic. My laundry will all be folded at the same time. And I'll be appreciated and loved by the people around me. What I'm finding to be true is that life is hectic, expensive and exhausting. Some people really don't like me, and my laundry is rarely folded at the same time.
What I'm seeing from Mary this Sunday is that the plans that we have are nothing compared to what God wants to do with our lives. Mary's heart was willing to let God come into her life and completely wreck any plans she might have in order that she could be a part of the great thing that He was giving to the world. Not only did she have no trouble of letting go of her own plans, she was beyond thrilled to become an integral part of what God was doing in the world. God's invitation was inseparable from the cost. Her life got crazy, but she chose this wildness willingly. She wanted to be used by God more than she wanted anything else.
Dear God, I am so humbled by your servant, Mary. What a beautiful-hearted young mother you picked for your sweet Son. Lord, I confess that I am so concerned with my plans and how I am perceived by others that I often do not even hear You when you invite me into the bigger things that You are doing in the world. Lord, forgive me. Don't let me miss out on Your greatness because I'm preoccupied with my own little slice of goodness. Let it be to me, Dear Lord, according to Your Word. Amen.