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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Faith to Follow

Women of the Bible

Luke 1:37-38 "For with God nothing will be impossible. Then Mary said, 'Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to Your word.' And the angel departed from her."

Mary was just given the most amazing news that she was going to be the vessel God would use to come to this earth as a baby to save the world! She couldn't understand how this would be accomplished since she had never known a man. But as the angel told her, nothing is impossible with God. It's along the same lines as the response the angel gave to Sarah in Genesis 18:14 ("Is anything too hard for the Lord?"). If nothing is too hard for the Lord, then everything is possible with God!

Although Mary didn't completely understand HOW God was going to fulfill His promise, she chose to BELIEVE His promise and SUBMIT to how He was going to fulfill that promise. There are lessons for us in this story that is recorded in Luke.

First, in applying that to our own lives, I believe God wants to use us in His redemption story that continues in our world today. We have the Greatest Gift to the world in our possession. Are we going to submit to God's desire to use us in whatever way He chooses to offer that Gift to the lost people He places in our lives? May our heart's response be as Mary's..."Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to Your word."

Second, God's Word contains many promises for us. We may not always understand how God is going to fulfill those promises in our lives. Trials come our way and in the midst of those trials we can either moan and groan our way through them, or look for God's hand as He gently molds us and shapes us through those trials to be a vessel He can use as an encouragement to someone who may face that exact same trial later on down the road. 

Can you imagine the ridicule Mary faced when everyone found out she was pregnant and not yet married to Joseph? At that time, being pregnant and unmarried could get you stoned to death! We know that Joseph, after being visited by the angel as well, decided to stay with Mary and they were married. Scripture doesn't record it, but I sure would like to know how Mary carried herself through what must have been a very painful time in her life. Mary had been given a promise and I'm sure she must have held on to the promise Gabriel had told her. That's what we must do - hold on to the promises we have been given by God in His Word when we walk through trials in this life.

I'm a planner. I love to have a plan, to know what's going to happen and when it is scheduled to happen! I want to know why when things don't always go according to my plan. God is teaching me to lay aside my "right to know" and to simply trust and follow in the path He has lovingly laid out for my life. I don't need to know how it is all going to work out, I just need to believe in the One who holds my life in the palm of His hand, and trust that He is always in control. That's faith. Faith to follow without having all the answers.

That's the kind of faith Mary had. With all the unknowns and risks she faced, she chose to submit. She became the willing vessel God desired in order to bring our Savior into the world. She had faith to follow God's plan. Will we? Will we use the trials that come into our lives as opportunities to grow in faith and knowledge toward God so that in turn He can use us as His instruments to share the hope of eternal life available through Jesus Christ to the lost He places in our lives?

May our response be: "Behold, the maidservant of the Lord. Let it be according to Your Word." Amen!

Walking in His Grace, 

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