Mary had just received news that she was pregnant, by the Holy Spirit, with the Messiah. And her immediate response?
An expression of faith.
Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to Your Word.”Luke 1:38
Wow! What an awesome example and challenge for us! Mary verbalized immediate and confident trust in God in the most uncertain circumstances of her life. Granted, the news came from an angel. Sometimes I wish God would do that, send an angel down to affirm my life's current circumstances are a part of His overall plan. Nonetheless, Mary’s response gives us a mantra of faith, for whatever circumstances we may find ourselves in.
I’ve had some moments when I remember reciting Mary’s mantra, and it helped! Living in orphanages in 3rd world countries where everyone spoke a different language, and I was trying to share the gospel. “Let it be to me according to Your Word.” When a marriage engagement fell apart. “Let it be to me according to Your Word.” When it all came back together again. “Let it be to me according to Your Word.” Moving from Germany to Texas, alone and 38 weeks pregnant, with my soldier husband to follow. “Let it be to me according to Your Word.” Moving again with two little boys and a 10-day old baby to a new town where I wouldn’t know a soul and where my husband would leave us as he had to deploy for 2 months. “Let it be to me according to Your Word.” Crazy circumstances! But they didn't even come close to Mary’s. And they don’t even come close to what many of you have been through either. Mary’s response of faith in God applies to us all, where ever we may find ourselves!
Maybe you are sick or injured. Maybe you just lost a loved one. Maybe a child is sick. Maybe you just got custody of a child who is not yours by birth. Maybe you just found out that you’ll work from home while you virtual or homeschool your kids. Maybe your spouse is not a believer, or he or she just deployed or thinks that you need to sell the home that you love. Maybe God has put a ministry opportunity in front of you. Maybe you have a very challenging child. Maybes can go on forever. But what if we intentionally predetermined, that by the grace of God, whatever “maybe” presents itself to us, that we will recite the Mary Mantra: “Behold, the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to Your Word.” That’s easier said than done, but it’s a great goal! And Mary seemed prepared to respond in faith. She knew what God wanted her to do, and she immediately verbally expressed a humble willingness. Mary’s mantra inspires me to respond to life with this “even if” attitude of faith instead of a “what it” or “if only” attitude of doubt. She inspires me to seek first the Kingdom of God in the midst of it all!
What else could Mary have said? Maybe “I’m too young,” or “I’m not good enough,” or “I’m not strong enough,” or “I don't know how,” or “I am already stretched too thin.” And where would these anywhere but Ninevah kind of thoughts have led? Definitely in the opposite direction than where Mary chose to go. Doubts lead us away from what God wants to accomplish through us. Doubt causes whatever fruit God wanted to bear in our lives to get lost in the mix. A person who doubts, as James mentions in his epistle, is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind ... unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:6, 8)
But Mary didn't say any of that. She expressed that yes, she would remain faithful, whatever came her way, and God gave her the strength to follow through. What an awesome reminder of how God works! As a result, she played a major role in God’s plan of providing a free gift of eternal life for all who believe in Jesus!
So, where does this “Mary Mantra” type of faith come from? How can you and I overcome doubt and become people of faith? The Bible says that “... faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” (Romans 10:17) Scripture plants seeds of faith, but that’s not all it does. Scripture also fertilizes our faith! David describes the person who delights in and who meditates day and night on God’s Word.
He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever He does shall prosper.”Psalm 1:1-3
I love the simplicity of this solution! Read the Bible. Listen to the Bible. Fill your mind with God’s Word.
How do you plan to delight in God’s Word this coming year? What helps you to meditate on scripture, day and night? Who do you know that exemplifies this Mary Mantra? This unwavering faith?
What helps me is to make reading my Bible, one of my top 3 personal priorities. Bible, workout, shower. I like to get up early for this because it’s easier to be consistent when there’s no one else awake. I also like to have a few study goals for the year, maybe a read through the Bible in a year plan, or reading through a certain book of the Bible a little each day with a commentary like the Constable Commentary app*. I also like to flip on audio of Christian authors and bloggers like Sally Clarkson* while I workout or drive. My family works together to memorize a verse each month. There’s room for improvement in accomplishing David’s challenge to be in scripture day and night. Maybe some of you have ideas for an evening routine that includes scripture. We do a little family devotion with our boys at dinner. Here’s to a new kind of faith for the new year! Merry Christmas, friends!
This post is dedicated to Megan, as you exemplify and verbalize faith in the very midst of losing your Brennon. I barely know you, but I saw your Pieta post, of Mary holding Jesus after he died on the cross, and the verses you are sharing ... oh friend of my sister, your faith and pain will not be for nothing. And I can’t imagine that any gain makes this easier, but maybe seeing God work in the midst of it might encourage you a tiny bit. Your loss could’ve been so different, but you have responded publicly, verbally, with faith like Mary’s, under circumstances most of us cannot even begin to grasp. Your unbelievable expressions of faith have allowed God to work through this unimaginable loss. Praying for all of you.
*Free Grace Women may not endorse all content from this author/organization.