This time of year reminds us of a familiar story.
An innocent soul. She has never been with a man. About to be married to a good man.
God interrupts her plans.
The angel tells her she will conceive of the Holy Spirit and have a son who will become the saviour of the world.
“How will this be since I am a virgin?” Mary is confused. These are uncharted waters. There are no examples of anyone who has conceived of the Holy Spirit who can help Mary understand.
It doesn’t make sense—nothing does—yet in her confusion and lack of understanding, Mary yields.
Her husband Joseph wants to leave her quietly so she doesn’t become a public spectacle. Maybe the conversation prior to Joseph’s plan to leave Mary went something like this:
“Mary, I am going to have to leave.”
“Please don’t leave. I didn’t ask for this. It is God’s plan. I have conceived of the Holy Spirit.”
“Mary don’t you bring God up in this conversation.”
“But God . . . ”
“Mary, I don’t think I know you anymore.”
It took the appearance of an angel to convince Joseph to stay.
The life of Mary may well be a reflection of many of our lives. We’ve got plans for our lives—a road-map of sorts—then our lives are interrupted. Here is what Mary did when her life was interrupted . . . she yielded. She uttered perhaps the most powerful words of obedience, “Be it unto me according to your word.”
“Be it unto me” says:
- Your plans over my plans.
- I choose yours ways over my ways.
- I don’t know where this is going, but I will obey.
- I will give you my hand and trust you to lead me.
“Be unto me” is like singing the words of Michael Card’s song:
To hear with my heart
To see with my soul
To be guided by a hand I cannot see
That’s what faith must be.
“Be it unto me” is an act of faith.
- Maybe there are places God is calling you to—places bigger than you.
- Some are scary and, like Mary, you may wonder “How can it be?”
- You may look at your limitations and say, “But I am not qualified.”
- Maybe God is asking you to change directions.
When your perfect plans are interrupted, remember that these interruptions can lead you to his purposes.
- This Christmas I want the familiar story to remind us to yield when we don’t understand.
- I want it to remind us to turn where God wills for us to turn.
- I want it to remind us that plans can be messed, but it is in the messing that God’s will for our lives can unfold.
- I want this Christmas to remind us of a girl who had to carry a child who was not her husband’s, who didn’t fully understand the plan, but she yielded.
I know life may be a series of events we may never understand, but when it comes to those events can we bring ourselves to pray like Mary, “Be it unto me according to your word”?
Would you be willing to yield when you don’t understand?
Would you be willing to say, “Yes Lord, I don’t know how this will be—the route you ask me to take terrifies me—but I will say ‘Yes’?”