This morning, Desiring God’s devotional centered around Mary. Of course, it’s Advent season, so all month-long, we will be reflecting on the birth of Christ and what that means for us as Christians.
However, a thought came to my mind that really made me stop and think (and I hope it does the same to you): If Jesus was born today, as opposed to back then, what would we have said about Mary? How would we have treated her?
Would we have treated her as “Mary, Mother of God”? Or would we have shamed her, accused her, and treated her like a “sinner” because God’s work in her life didn’t fit inside our box of “what God is like”?
If some lady came to you at church and said “I know I’m engaged to Joseph and we’re getting married soon, but an angel came to me and told me that I’m pregnant because I’m going to have God’s son and he will be King forever”…let’s be honest, what would your thoughts be?
I have a feeling it would be along the lines of “Yeah, okay buddy…”
I’m not saying to take everyone at their word when they say “God told me _____” (a lot of times, it contradicts scripture, so God didn’t really “tell” them that, but that’s a different post for a different day). What I am saying is to look at it from Mary’s point of view.
God didn’t just say “I am choosing you to be part of this incredible moment”. By choosing her, it was implied that she would suffer as well. I’m sure many people considered her a harlot because they didn’t believe God was working in her life. Many people probably wrote her off or chose to no longer associate themselves with her. While she was faithfully serving her Lord, she was probably also being harassed and taunted. Even her soon-to-be husband Joseph didn’t believe her at first and wanted to divorce her. Thankfully, God intervened by sending an angel to ease Joseph’s “worries”.
Chances are we won’t see another “Mary” in our lifetime. However, how many people have we come across that have faced great hurdles in their walks with Christ and have been shunned by the church because of it?
- The addict that relapses, but genuinely loves Jesus.
- The couple that had a child out-of-wedlock, but got married and are working through things in their marriage.
- The person that struggles with depression and is going through a “down period” right now, but is trying desperately to cling to God in the darkness.
- The wife married to an unbeliever, but she is serving God faithfully regardless.
How many people do we look to and say “God’s will shouldn’t look like that in your life”? How many brothers and sisters in the faith have we shunned because of their struggles with sins or because of their past?
Would you have shunned Mary?
Or would you have come along side her, helped her, and later, praised God for how He worked a seemingly bad situation for His glory?
We know Mary’s situations was not brought about by sin (let me make that clear). God chose her because she was a humble and faithful servant. However, many times the “trials” in our lives might actually be God choosing us for great things that, in the end, will bring Him more glory and make us more holy.
What we may interpret now as “the greatest trial I have ever faced” might, in fact, end up becoming “the greatest thing that has ever happened to me”.
Brothers and sisters, whatever you are facing now, leave your worries and fears at the feet of God. Ask Him to use this trial to make you righteous, draw others nearer to Him, and ultimately, bring Him the most glory and praise possible. It may seem impossible right now (trust me, I’m in the middle of one of those “impossible ones”), but God’s promises are true: Rest in them. Rest in HIM.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you. Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.”- 2 Corinthians 4:7-15 (emphasis mine)