In this Advent season, my thoughts turn to Mary as they always do. Her testimony offers a beacon of light for us in these dark, troubling times.
Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”
Luke 1:30-34 – NKJV
“How can this be?” In a moment of fear and uncertainty, Mary posed that question. Her heart must have thundered in her chest as she stared at the glowing figure before her in the darkness. No doubt, her mind was reeling; her thoughts twisting, turning and finding only one word, “Impossible!”
What about you? Have you known such a heart racing, mind churning, panic filled moment? Have you ever asked that same four word question?
I have. Unlike Mary, my messenger was far from angelic. Rather, he was an uncaring ophthalmologist who sat on the other side of a dimly lit room, eyes locked on a computer screen. Without an ounce of compassion, he hurled four words at me, four words I will never forget. “You are legally blind!” My response, a bewildered look, an incredulous stare. My heart was pounding, one word racing through the neural pathways of my brain. “Impossible!” Through trembling lips came the question, that same four word question, “How can this be?”
Mary’s face must have portrayed her panic for the angel readily offered those three words we all long to hear. “Don’t be afraid!” The words were more of a command than comfort, intended to capture Mary’s attention, to open her ears to his miraculous message.
Unlike my news, Mary’s news was good, fantastic even, and yet, in her humanity, it must have been no less confusing and overwhelming. The impossible was happening. A virgin would give birth to the Son of God. How could this be? Her human reasoning must have been in overdrive, trying to understand how the impossible could become possible.
But unlike me, unlike most of us, Mary didn’t remain locked in a battle to understand. She refused to be consumed by her “Why?” questions. She waited quietly. She listened. She let go of the barriers of her human mind and opened her heart instead. She felt the truth of the message even if she couldn’t understand “How?” And she did what most of us wouldn’t have done. Mary opened the door of her heart and stepped out in faith.
Mary’s journey is a testimony to us in so many ways, but especially on this point. Mary embraced the mystery. She was not consumed with seeking to understand. On that long ago night, Mary was faced with a choice point, and in that critical moment, she chose to trust. Because of that one monumental decision, all generations have called her blessed.
Mary’s life was forever changed in that one moment, just as mine was forever changed sitting there in that doctor’s office. Unlike Mary, I didn’t immediately accept my newfound circumstances, preferring to wallow in the why’s instead. Although my path to acceptance was a much longer journey than Mary’s, God’s grace still found me. Eventually, I chose to trust even though I couldn’t understand. Finding that trust point opened the pathway to peace.
2020 has been a year of tremendous uncertainty. Our lives have been disrupted, our sense of normalcy whisked away. A worldwide pandemic threatens our health and forces us into social isolation. Doom and gloom is the constant fare of the day.
Again and again, we stare at the headlines fraught with bad news, and one thought permeates our brains, “Impossible!” Next comes the question, “How can this be?”
Friends, uncertainty remains, and we arrive at a choice point. Will we let our circumstances steal our joy and destroy our peace? Or will we, like Mary, choose to trust? There is only one pathway to peace in these uncertain times, and it lies with God.
May we learn from Mary. She didn’t know the answer to “How”, but she did understand the “Who.” That was enough for her. She heard the angel’s words and believed, “For nothing will be Impossible with God.”
Today and forever, may you and I hear those words and take them to heart.
“For nothing will be impossible with God.”
Luke 1:37 – ESV
O Father God, we wander in the darkness of these troubling times. Send us Your light, Your hope, Your peace. Open our hearts to the truth that nothing is impossible with You. Help us to choose to trust You in all things, from our daily dilemmas to the plan You have for our lives. We praise You for Your goodness and Your unfailing love.