December 23 I Sunday
“‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May your word to me be fulfilled.’” —Luke 1:38
What is the resource that enables us to face tasks that seem humanly impossible? Mary asked this question in a different way when the angel announced she would give birth to a son. She said, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” (Luke 1:34). If there is one question God is used to hearing, it is “How?” It is not a question He is afraid of, and His answer is the same every time. As the angel answered Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you…. For no word from God will ever fail.” (Luke 1:35-37). As other translations put it, “For nothing will be impossible with God.”
When God calls us to a task, it is not our ability that He requires but our availability. Many Christians become afraid when they receive a word from the Lord because they think they have to accomplish what He has said on their own strength. The quality of our faith grows out of the genuineness of our fear, of our awareness that a task is much bigger than we are. If our lives can be explained by what we do for God, we will be religious, but nothing more. But when we have the real thing, which is God Himself empowering us by His Spirit, He will become the explanation for our doing the impossible.
If the revelation of God’s plan provokes fear, the revelation of His power produces faith and the revelation of His purposes provides fulfillment. The whole point of being a Christian is that having been reconciled to God, we might know the power of His Spirit at work in our lives. Discipline and obedience are necessary to the Christian life, but His power is shown most clearly in our weakness. What God says, God will accomplish. When we act in obedience and dependence on Him, we will be able to look back with absolute amazement, seeing God’s fingerprints all over what He has done in us and through us.
Mary’s faith captures the spirit of Paul’s instruction to the Roman believers “to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God” (Romans 12:1). Before Christmas could ever have taken place, there was a moment where Mary literally presented her body to God so He might bring His Son into the world through her. What a shining example of faith that trusts God to do what we never could. When God reveals a plan that terrifies us, faith says, “May Your word to me be fulfilled,” and then trusts Him to do it.
Prayer: Gracious God, produce in me a faith like Mary’s faith. No matter what plans You have for me in the days ahead, I want to walk in obedience and dependence on You.