“Mary, did you know that you baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy will one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven’s perfect lamb?
This sleeping child you’re holding is the great I am?”
On Christmas Eve this year it came to me that each of us is Mary, invited by the Lord to birth a precious something into this world that will remind all of God’s people that they, too, belong, that they, too, are welcome at the Lord’s table, that they, too, are loved and forgiven by God. Be they of any race, religion, education, nationality—no matter their particular circumstances, rich or poor, they all belong at the table.
This song, “Mary did you know?” has been singing itself in my mind ever since them. Reminding me of Mary. Reminding me of the onerous, even frightening task of birthing a child out of wedlock(according to the mores of the world) and later seeing him crucified. And there was Mary through it all, saying “I am the Lord’s servant, may your word to me be fulfilled.”[Luke 1:38] Her “Yes!” to God has resounded through all history. And now it is echoing in me. I think that Mary is the standard bearer of what it means to be God’s servant.
So now the question I am asking myself, and now you, is this: Do I respond to the Lord’s requests with a “Yes!” like Mary’s? And more, Am I of such a mind that there is no resistance in me to God’s inner direction and to what happens in my life? Will I let God do to my heart, mind, soul and body what Mary allowed God to do?
Mary did say, “Yes!” before she knew that her son would be a wandering rabbi to his people, that he would not be a carpenter and close to her as she probably expected. Before she knew that he would be mocked and challenged even in Nazareth. Before she knew that he would be vilified and crucified. And before she herself was at the foot of the cross watching him in agony. She said, “Yes!” without knowing the future and what it would bring. She said, “Yes!” to God without knowing the price she would pay in grief and agony.
What a standard she is! She didn’t even pray that things turn out the way she wanted them. She surrendered. She loved and supported Jesus. She moved to Egypt for a while. And then home again. She saw him grow into a man who was dedicated to God. Whose life would be on the line. She was there for him, even at the cross.
Mary knows the wonderful and horrific price that we may pay for loving God and following his commands and suggestions. And yet I get the sense that she would always say, “Yes!” because that is who she is. No matter what God would ask of her, her “Yes!” would be the first thing that she said in response. And that her ”Yes!” would be accompanied at times by joy and at other times by great sorrow.
I’ve come a long way in this regard, although I still have my moments of teasing God with this line: “What were you thinking when you brought this into my life!” A moment of protest before I say “Yes!”
We 21st century people think that our lives should be without pain, just as we want them to be. But Mary knew something that we’ve tried to forget—that challenges and pain and grief are a part of our lives. If we embrace them even in our pain, they will reveal greater and greater depths to who we are. They will draw us very close to God. They will fulfill us as we jettison the unnecessary, resistant parts of who we are. They will strip us of our worldly attachments and preferences and assumptions. They will teach us to live in freedom with God and our own true selves, no matter the consequences of following Him.
Questions to ponder over the week: How do I respond to God, to his Indwelling Spirit’s voice, to what is in my life? Am I accepting and embracing or am I resistant and resentful? Am I able to give up my own agenda and go with God’s? Do I believe, deep inside myself, that I can trust God with my whole life?
Blessing for the week: May we be ready to say “Yes!” to what God allows into our lives and what he asks us to do. May we accept and grieve, bless and embrace all that happens to us. May we move into that deep partnership with God in everything, no matter the personal cost.
*****I’m doing more research for my book. If you have had the experience of God revealing to you what your purpose is, would you write me in the Messages and tell me what that purpose is and how it came about. I would greatly appreciate your help. I’ll use it in my book, but the writer will remain anonymous.
My book, “Thy Kingdom Come!”, is up on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle versions. Look under Patricia Said Adams.
If you’d prefer to read this in five parts, Monday thru Friday each week, check out my FB page at By the Waters. Here on my website are archives of all my posts going back to 2011.