Wednesday, October 24, 2007

October 24, 2007

"And Mary said, 'Behold the handmaiden of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.' " Luke 1: 38 KJV

Mary, the mother-to-be of Jesus, was probably a young teenager when Gabriel appeared to her and told her she would have a child. She was engaged to be married, and was still a virgin. Yet God told her that she was "highly favored....blessed among women".

II Chronicles 16:9 says that the eyes of the Lord run throughout the whole earth, searching for those whose hearts are perfect toward Him SO THAT He may show Himself strong in their behalf. I believe that is exactly how it happened with Mary. His radar...were searching the earth for the woman who would bear His Son, the Savior of the world. And as He looked, He saw Mary, a young woman whose heart beat for Him....a young woman who would say YES to whatever He asked of her.

What about you? Are you willing to say YES to whatever God asks of you?

Mary never retreated. She did not say "Well....I don't know. Let me think about this". She didn't back away and say "No Lord! No!!!!!!!!!!! Please! I'm about to be married! What will Joseph say?! He won't want to marry me. This will mess everything up!" Nor did she say, "Oh God! How can you do this to me! What will my parents think? What will the neighbors say?! I'll be ridiculed, ostracized by everyone! Why they may even try to stone me because they will think I have committed adultery!"

Nope. She didn't say any of that. In fact, scripture doesn't even indicate she THOUGHT any of that. I think that is exactly why God chose her. He knew her heart. He knew that when He said this is the plan, she'd obey, fully trusting Him. Oh how I long to be like Mary!!!!!!!!!!!!

Too many times I struggle and wrestle with what God wants me to do, especially if it is something that will take me out of my comfort zone or that may "upset the apple cart", so to speak. I don't like conflict in any shape, form or fashion.

In a devotional by Beth Moore entitled WALKING WITH A LIMP, she writes:

"We are to walk as people who have encountered God and some of the most transforming encounters are wrestling matches. Dear One, the lost do not wrestle with God nearly as much as those of us who belong to Him. The profane and ungodly don't care enough to wrestle. We who are His often wrestle with Him most, and at times we also seem to hurt the most.

Please understand that for us, wounding and hurt are only temporal, yet they carry great eternal benefits: 'For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all' II Cor. 4:17. So let the Esaus of this life run! This is the only chance they'll get! And, yes, let the Jacobs limp. We have been with God! Though our humanity may be wounded, our souls are made whole by the One with whom we wrestle.

Scripture tells us that Esau ran to meet Jacob and "embraced" him. Both wrestling and embracing are ordinarily face-to-face encounters that involve holding onto one another...albeit with different motivations. In our Jacob-like relationship with God, wrestling and embracing are often separated by the thinnest thread. I've wrestled with God til the last thread of my resistance breaks. Then I fall sobbing into His arms in desperate embrace, submitting to His will. When Jacob cried out 'I will not let you go until you bless me '(Gen. 32:26), I believe he had moved from wrestling to embracing. I'm not at all sure Jacob could have allowed his estranged brother to embrace him had Jacob not first wrestled with God and sustained a wound to his stubborn humanity."

As much as I'd like to be like Mary, I'm afraid I'm probably more like Jacob. I tend to have to wrestle with God a while before I end up embracing what He has for me. I am also reminded, however, that Jesus wrestled with God, too. In the Garden before the crucifixion, He wrestled with His impending spiritual death (it was not over the physical death that he was struggling, but over the fact that He was going to be separated from God spiritually). But His repeated words were "Not my will, but thine be done". And that's ultimately the bottom line for all of us, isn't it? We are either going to be obedient and follow Him and obey or we're going to run the other way. It's our choice. May our response echo the words of this song:

Yes, Lord, Yes to your will and to your way
I'll say Yes, Lord, Yes
I will trust you and obey
When the Spirit speaks to me
With my whole heart I'll agree
And my answer will be
Yes, Lord, Yes!!
Lynn Keesecker/Manna Music, Inc.

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