Sunday, December 22, 2013

How you can count on God when a perfect plan doesn't feel so perfect - A lesson from Mary

I wonder what it was like? To be her! As a young girl, she was given a mandate and the responsibility to conceive and give birth to the Son of the Most High.

Can you imagine the magnitude of the moment in her 12 years old life; when the plan was laid out to her one day in an angelic visitation?

She was to mother the Child that God had promised hundreds of years earlier through the prophet Isaiah. No pressure, Mary!

The good news - she had found favor with God. And God was with her. On the other hand, she was afraid and had to be reassured. She was perplexed with the how. But her heart was open and she said yes in joining God in His divine plan for her life.

 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.”

         What a commitment for a young woman who is betrothed and making plans to be wed when a new plan is dropped into her life. One thing Mary had going for her was her was her knowledge of scripture. When the word is close to your heart, it is already open, and you can respond with conviction and without delay.

“And the angel left.”

 I don’t know about you but that’s the part where I would start to think, “Wow! OK. Now what?”

When holy meets humanity, it’s humbling.

And if you’re like me, without knowing the plan, step-by-step, it’s a tough spot to be in. But when you’re in, you’re in.  And better yet, when you say yes to God, you’re in good hands, whether you know all the details or not. He has a knack for fulfilling His promises. 

She knows this and she sings her Hallelujah. Despite the missing pieces and the challenges that lie ahead, she believed. And she rejoiced. She was filled with joy.

When holy meets humanity it’s humbling and we can sing Hallelujah.

It’s a hallelujah that happens when we are touched by who He is.

So Mary's heart was ready and open and she said yes in joining God in His divine plan for her life. Then the angel left. She had been given the plan, but not the details. There were missing pieces and challenges that lie ahead, the day to day living of it.

For starters, Mary was pregnant but she was not yet married. Try to imagine how she would explain that one to people in her life and times. (Not fun if you're a people pleaser!) Then she journeyed for a great distance on a donkey. (Not exactly putting your feet up) And likely because of poverty, she gave  birth in a barn instead of a comfy inn.

Where did we get the idea that living in God’s perfect plan means we circumvent the living it out part?

She had to do her part.

Sometimes with an impeccable plan, the journey is unpalatable. But it is good. And it is a fulfillment of what He has promised.

She could count on God when the perfect plan didn’t feel so perfect.

How Mary Counted on God

Here are some ways Mary relied on God to bring His promise to the world:

     He provided her with affirmation. The angel messenger brought the annunciation, but also affirmation to Mary about her relationship to God. “God is with you. You have found favour with Him.”
He provided her with a mandate.  It had been prophesied 400 years earlier by the prophet Isaiah and also by the prophet Micah. She knew it was the real deal.
  His call to her was an answer to a need. Her mandate fulfilled a personal and corporate longing. She and the people were waiting for the promised Savior.
     He built her faith. The messenger angel also told Mary that her elderly cousin Elizabeth was also going to have a son in her old age. Mary and Elizabeth shared in the wonderful things God had done for them.
    He provided support. In Elizabeth, but also in Joseph. While Joseph was wondering what he should do, an angel appeared to him in a dream, saying he should not be afraid to marry Mary, that the child was to be called Jesus, which means “Saviour.” Joseph provided help and support to Mary.
  He gave direction through natural circumstances. As prophesied by Micah, Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Though Mary and Joseph were in Nazareth, they travelled to Bethlehem, Joseph’s hometown, for a census issued by the Roman emperor. Also, the wise men that studied the star patterns night after night; noticed a new, bright star in the east, followed it to find & celebrate & worship Jesus.
 He gave provision at the inn. They found a welcome in one place, a lowly stable. It became a holy place.
     He arranged celebration and affirmation. The shepherds heard of the birth from an angel and an angelic choir. They hurried to Bethlehem to see the child who had been promised to their fathers for hundreds of years. They knelt down in adoration before him. How Mary must have felt!  Also, when Jesus was about a month old, the wise men brought precious gifts after being guided by the star to where the child was.
    He provided protection. In a dream, the wise men were warned not to go and tell Herod. Then God sent an angel to Joseph in a dream, instructing him to go to Egypt to protect the child from Herod, who later sent soldiers to Bethlehem to kill every baby boy in the whole town.
He provided direction. Once Herod had died, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph again in a dream instructing him to go back to Israel.
He provided re-direction. So Joseph took Jesus and Mary back to the land of Israel but he was afraid to go near the city of Jerusalem where the king lived. Instead he went to Nazareth. According to Matthew, “So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.”

Luke 1,2 & Matthew 1,2

“Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord will fulfill His promises in her.” And so He did.  Jesus was born to her, as promised and as prophesied. 

Her heart was ready and open. She said yes in joining God in His divine plan for her. And a beautiful story came out of her life.

She relied on God. She did her part. It takes both.

Maybe you are at the stage of readying yourself in the word. Or maybe you already have a mandate that’s clear to you. Maybe you’re just stepping out in what little you do know and you’re ready to trust him for all the “I don’t knows.” Maybe you’re just pondering the very idea that God can use YOU to bring His love to a dying world! 

His plan for you may come as a surprise. His plan may interrupt your plans. It may be frightening at first. You may not have a clear roadmap. His plan will not make you popular with everyone. His plan may include some very ordinary steps and  some uncomfortable turns. BUT...

What is your yes in joining God in His divine plan for you?

Be assured as a child of God, you have found favor with Him. He is with you. He will provide everything you need to bring forth His promise in your life. Everything you need. You can count on Him when His perfect plan does not feel so perfect.

When His holy meets your humanity, heaven and earth await the sound of your hallelujah.

And so this Christmas season it rings in my heart as it has through the ages “Holy, Holy, Holy, Is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come.” And as with Mary, I wonder what beautiful story will come out of you not just for your gain but also for the gain of others?

Grace and peace to you with each step! You’re in good hands, daughter of the Most High.

We are curious to hear how you have relied on God and how He has shown Himself faithful in your life! Please, share your comments below.

Malynda lives in the winter wonderland of Winnipeg, Manitoba with her husband and her young children. This Christmas, she is celebrating the many gifts God has given her and the promises He has fulfilled to her, especially in her family. She is excited to embark on another faith adventure with us here at Women's Journey of Faith as one of our recommended speakers! The founder of BUGirl, she has imparted valuable lessons through her mentorship program and has since passed the baton on to another at Family Life Network and it continues to experience great success in the lives of young women.To learn more about Women's Journey of Faith, our upcoming sharing the Journey seminar on April 4-6 2014 and other recommended speakers click here: WJOF  

Malynda credits her pastor, Andaza Baiye, of Joy Fountain Church, Winnipeg, MB for her beautiful words from this Sunday’s message, found in the second to last paragraph."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So encouraging! Thanks for this:)