Luke 1: 26-38
‘then the angel left her’… Terrific, isn’t it? An angel shows up and effectively blows your future out of the water. You’ve said you’re up for it. Not daring to think too much about what it might entail, but from somewhere deep within you respond. If this were a soap opera then the angel leaving would be the closing scene. What happens next?
It must have felt like, one by one, everyone else was leaving Mary as well. How about you? Is there part of your life where you feel you’re alone, frightened, isolated? The BBC’s ‘The Nativity’ does the best job I’ve seen in capturing what could easily have seen Mary stuck in all three places.
Mary does not leave. Mary stays with the direction she settled upon in her heart when she said ‘I am the Lord’s servant, may it be to me according to your word’. Mary is obedient. Yesterday we reflected a little on Joseph’s obedience … reluctant, begrudging, more than kind of my heart is not willing, but I’ll do it. Mary is very different, but please don’t mistake willingness for easiness.
So what do you look for, wherever God is calling you to be obedient in a particular way?
Look for God. The angel may have left her physical presence, but God does not leave her. Look for peace. Joseph may have threatened to leave her, but the Holy Spirit stayed alongside. My own unfolding story of following Jesus is I’ve known more of the peace of God in the darkest and most challenging times.
Look for the next step. You must take that one, just like Mary did. Mary did not leave what we might describe today as ‘an intentional walk of discipleship’, but Mary just saw it as the next step of obedience in the long walk.
The next step may not be a big one – it’s simply the next step. The next step may not appear to change anything – remember it was months of waiting for Jesus to be born, not 20 seconds to get into the next chapter. The next step is not necessarily one, which will bring everyone else around you, applauding you along the way and that sense of being alone, with God, but isolated from everyone else, suddenly evaporating. However, it will be a step into God’s preferred future, for you and the world around you.
Mary’s obedience would have huge implications for her life, but it would also bring a massive impact on everyone around her. If you decide you will walk, obediently, step by step, into God’s preferred future for your life you will be taking another step to become more like the good news everyone needs. My conviction is you’ll be taking another step towards becoming the answer to the prayers of everyone you rub shoulders with. Who wouldn’t want a friend like Mary?
Same prayer, same practice, everyday …
Prayer: Dear Lord, I choose to follow your way rather than my own. I want to be obedient to you in every area of my life. Help me to look to you rather than my circumstance to determine what I do today and the decisions I make. Give me courage to take one step of obedience and faith at a time. In Jesus name. Amen.