Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Mary, Did You Know?

Mark Lowry wrote a song a few years back that quickly became a holiday favorite entitled, Mary, Did You Know? It questions whether Mary, the mother of Jesus, knew the true essence of who Jesus really
was as the Son of God. Did she really know the extent of what she was saying when she told Gabriel, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be unto me according to  your word,” (Luke 1;38 EV)? Regardless of our speculations about Mary’s foreknowledge, the question remains: What enabled her to endure in quiet humility his cruel and unfair treatment,   especially by the church leaders of the day? It is the same strength that will keep you strong when life throws you “curve balls” that seek to undo you. Mary’s absolute trust in her Heavenly Father was unshakeable and she knew that His ultimate purpose would prevail. His word was his bond.

            In this life we will experience pain, sickness, death, poverty, childlessness, unwanted pregnancies, disappointments with children, financial reversals and other unpleasant occurrences, all of which are part of the human experience. John 16:33 reminds us, “In this world you will have tribulation.” So, what should a Christian woman’s response be to all of these vicissitudes of life?

 Let’s look back again to the response of Mary to the announcement of Gabriel. Without consideration to what it would personally cost her, she could say with full assurance in her heavenly Father, “May it be unto me according to your word.” In other words, may everything you have said come true. Mary was able to ponder each incident in her life with full assurance in the words of God. When Jesus made the announcement that we would have troubles in this life, He knew that it would not be received well. Who wants to be assured that bad times will definitely come? But then He delivers the good news, “But be of good cheer. I have overcome the world,” (John 16:33 MEV). We, like Mary, must believe the words of Christ and have a calm assurance that he is in control no matter what comes our way. Our faith must be rooted in our risen Savior who is the ultimate overcomer.

            As women we identify with the mothering aspect of Mary’s role in Jesus’s live. We can feel her humiliation at being considered an immoral young woman, we feel her hurt as her child is mistreated by the neighborhood kids for being a “bastard,” we share her pride when he becomes a rabbi, we understand her confusion over some of his teachings and activities, we weep with her as he is brutally beaten and crucified, and rejoice with her at his resurrection. Then, she learns that he is going to return to his heavenly home, his true home. But, we don’t read of any disappointment from Mary over this because by this time she had come to realize that she was simply a vessel chosen by God to be a part of a plan for mankind much larger than she. Living out her reply to Gabriel had by now become second nature to her. She willingly waited with the others in the Upper Room for the infilling of the Holy Spirit, and, upon reflection could see how God’s plan was coming to pass. We must do the same, becoming stronger in our faith with each tribulation – no matter the form it takes – and someday we, too, will reflect on our lives and see the hand of God in it all.

            As we experience the joy of the wonderful Christmas season and look forward to the new year, we are faced with a question concerning our own lives: Do we know what lies ahead for us? We only know what Jesus told us. We know that in addition to good times, we can expect some tribulation. Perhaps for some it will be sickness, other may face financial reversals, some may make a major move with a change in lifestyle, and others may experience the death of a loved one. But one fact remains, only God knows what lies ahead for each of us and, if we want to experience true peace of heart and mind, we must remain firm in our faith and trust in Jesus and His Word. Then and only then can we say as Mary did, “I am the servant of the Lord. May it be unto me according to your Word.” Have a blessed and joyous Christmas!

Message by Shari Hervold

 "Mary Did You Know"  by Mark Lowry