The idea of being chosen might bring up really wonderful memories, or it might bring back a solid mixture of bad memories. I remember being chosen on teams during recess or P.E. that I really didn’t want to be a part of. I remember being chosen to do several jobs that I severely didn’t want to do. I remember being chosen to go FIRST on a class discussion that I was clueless on (NOT a good memory!). However, I also remember being chosen to be part of groups that excited me and got me prepared for my future in college and thereafter. I remember being chosen because of votes being tallied and feeling accepted and respected. Being chosen in either of those dynamics can host a lot of different emotions, because, frankly, what if we don’t WANT to be chosen for the job that is being asked of us?
You might know this, but a long time ago, a young girl named Mary, was chosen. She was chosen for a divine job that carried the hope of the human race and the hope of the world. A job that would change history and people’s lives forever. A job that gave birth to reckless grace and beautiful, unthinkable forgiveness. A job that carried so much weight and scrutiny that it was almost unbearable. A job that became the greatest story every told: The Birth of Jesus.
I’m a Christmas lover. Everything about it I love, but now as the season is coming to the day it is mostly about, I’ve been pulled to scripture more than ever before. This Christmas season, Mary has captured my heart, so, I figured why not do a little studying on this strong and courageous woman of The Lord.
Life changed for Mary when she was a teenager; when the angel Gabriel came to visit her to tell her the news that she was to conceive a son (Luke 1:31). She might have been about 13 years old, which in those times, was the age to get engaged and to be married. She was of nobility, in the lineage of King David, but even so, her family was poor due to Israel’s captivity. I love that part, personally. Think of it: normal, average, a family just trying to make it from day to day. The one girl that probably wouldn’t have been thought of in society to take on such a job as to bring forth The Messiah to this world.
While she and other girls then were raised to take care of the home and learn duties to nurture a family, she was rare in her strength, obedience, and wisdom. She was rare in the fact that she was incredibly rooted and had been trained in scripture. The Bible is faithful to show us her wisdom and faithfulness in Luke 1:46-56: The Song of Mary. She truly knew the Lord and trusted in His promises, “And holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him,” (Luke 1:50). The Lord knew that He needed someone who could refer to the scriptures for guidance, confidence, reassurance, and something to hold on to while things got rough. The Lord, simply, looks at the heart. He knew the heart of Mary, and Mary had an obedient spirit who loved God deeply.
In listening to the birth story of Jesus in church and in growing up, I always remember seeing Mary as this meek and mild young girl who probably said yes at the drop of a hat. However, with more studying, I believe that couldn’t have been further from the truth. Mary was incredibly courageous , yet troubled with Gabriel’s message, “But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying,” Luke 1:29. She was troubled! Well, yes, I imagine so! If it were me, I would have most likely run off, disregarded the entire transaction, pretended it didn’t happen, and would try to get on with my normal, everyday life. Mary though, even as she was troubled, didn’t run. She stayed and listened; then, responded, “May it be done to me according to your word,” Luke 1:38.
Rare strength and obedience.
She was that faithful. She was so faithful that she looked that angel in the eyes, despite her longing to run in the other direction, and said, “YES”. If that’s not strength, I don’t know what is.
I’m the type of person that tries to put myself in other’s shoes as much as I can. How do they feel? What is it like? Do they hurt? Do they fear? In short: Are they okay?? I have tried to put myself in Mary’s shoes several times and I can only imagine the shunning and the suffering that followed because of her obedience. An unwed mother, a dishonor to her family, and unbeknownst to her, a future that carried her 90 miles to Bethlehem to give birth in a stable to her first born who she would later watch get cruelly murdered on a cross at 34 years of age.
Rare strength and obedience? I think so.
What also catches me at a loss is the fact that Mary was the only one that saw Jesus take His first AND last breath of life. When I actually process that Biblical fact, tears immediately well and I almost become nauseous, but yet, at the same time so very grateful and humbled.
Not only was Mary chosen to carry the hope of the world, she was chosen to raise Him as well. Let us not forget that. Her job wasn’t over when He cried His first cry. Even after Jesus’ death, she continues! It shows us in Acts 1:14 that her following and love for the Lord stayed strong as she attended the prayer meeting in the Upper Room, “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication with the women and Mary, the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.” This is, what I would call, devout following.
Edith Deen, author of All of the Women of the Bible, said it best, “Though she never traveled farther than from Palestine to Egypt, and then by donkey, her story still travels to the farthest corners of the Earth.”
So, what’s the point in me summarizing where it began with Mary? I’ll tell you.
What job have you been called to? What is that one job that you feel God has laid upon you? Is it a dream? Is it a shove from The Holy Spirit? Is it that one feeling of, “I need to do that, but I am scared to…”? Is it as simple as making a change in your daily life? Or is it as hard as accepting a job that you don’t want to take responsibility for at this time in your life? And more importantly, do you want to run in the other direction?
I can bet your bottom dollar Mary wanted to run. But because of her faith, she listened and said yes. Because of that one simple “yes”, she has reached thousands upon thousands with her story of sacrifice and submission in bringing The Messiah, the hope of all nations, into this world.
I am so thankful for Mary’s yes. I’m so thankful that God chose her to show us how a normal girl who loves the Lord can make such a life altering difference in this world.
My prayer is when God derails our worldly plan, and chooses us for ‘that’ job, whatever job that happens to be, that we will not run. My prayer is that we will plant our feet firmly in the ground and in scripture, and boldly say, “let it be to me, according to Your word.”
Merry, MERRY Christmas to you and yours this season!