Tuesday Morning Musings: Nothing is Impossible with God.
What a glorious morning!
I woke up in my own bed, and walked through my house, which is not just furnished with nice furniture and beautiful Christmas decorations, it’s also furnished with the sweetness and warmth of a family that loves me and is so excited that I am home again.
People that have spent a lot of time at our house have often said that they experience a spirit of peace and security when they’re over, and I totally get that now, it is so good to be in this home again!!
What a glorious morning!
I got to have breakfast in my mom’s kitchen! Bagels and cream cheese, I haven’t enjoyed such a novelty in 11 whole months! And I made myself a French press of coffee from the Roastarie, one of my favorite coffee roasters in Kansas City. I literally laughed out loud as I made my coffee and poured a little half n’ half in it—I’ve been looking forward to that moment for quite awhile now. (It’s the small things in life.)
I got to sit in the kitchen and chat with one of my brothers and drink my coffee and talk about the adventures we each experienced this year. And now I find myself sitting on my couch, cozied up with my bible and a cup of tea, looking at the Christmas tree and all the stockings over the fireplace.
And this is the real reason I started writing this post—I wanted to get some of my thoughts out about what I just read in the book of Luke.
I just read about the birth of Jesus foretold, when the angel Gabriel comes to Mary to tell her she’s going to give birth to Jesus. The story is found in Luke 1:26-38; I started reading it as just another familiar passage, after all, it is Christmas time, and you’re supposed to read the Christmas story, right?
But then I decided to slow down and imagine I was Mary (I would love to meet the angel Gabriel someday!). And that’s when it hit me – we, you and I, are not too much different from Mary.
It says in Luke 1:28-29, “Gabriel appeared to her and said, ‘Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!’ Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean.”
Scholars say Mary was a young girl, somewhere between the age of 12 and 14. She was about to get married, I don’t know for sure, I still have a lot of research to do, but I have a feeling it was probably an arranged marriage. Her world view was probably about as big as the town and home that she grew up in and worked in. And she was probably just at the beginning of puberty and learning to deal with all of her different emotions as she was beginning to discover herself.
And right in the middle of all this, God sends Gabriel to drop in and tell her that she’s about to be used by God to change the course of history.
Wow! I don’t know about you, but I can vaguely remember being 12 or 13, and I can assure you I would definitely be confused and disturbed as well if someone came and told me that I am a “favored woman” … I know that the culture during that time caused people to grow up faster, but she was still a very young girl.
So Gabriel proceeds with his message from the Lord, and this is what he tells her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”
This passage leaves me dumbfounded every time I read it. I can’t help but imagine myself in Mary’s shoes. But then it dawned on me as I was reading it today, what if God wanted to use me to impact the world in a really huge way? What if he told me that he was going to do seemingly impossible things through me to impact the world around me? What if going to Australia for a year was just the beginning?
And then I had this revelation that God has called me a favored woman since the day I was born. And he placed an incredible calling on my life the day my mother conceived me. And by the grace of God, I’m just beginning to wake up and see it all a little more clearly at the age of 22. And now I’m faced with the decision of how I’m going to respond to these breath-taking revelations—I’m faced with a decision similar to the one Mary was faced with.
I feel like I can really relate with Mary’s first response, ”Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”
I’ve often found myself asking the Lord, “but how?” “There’s no way I could possibly do that, I’m not properly equipped, I don’t have enough money …” And the excuses go on.
The difference between most of us and Mary is the way we choose to respond the second time. I love how the Lord is so gracious to work with us through our fear and confusion. And how, when He is working it is often not just in us, the individual, but also among us, the community; I believe He so graciously does this to help along our faith in Him.
The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. 37 For nothing is impossible with God.”
For nothing is impossible with God.
Not only will Mary, a virgin, not yet married, supernaturally conceive and give birth to the Messiah, but Elizabeth, her relative, supposedly barren due to her old age has conceived and is preparing to give birth to a child. God had it all planned out, and Mary, by the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, responded so beautifully.
Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.
God had it all planned out, and He STILL has it all planned out.
It painfully hit me after reading this how often my second response to God is just more fear and doubt-filled excuses. How often I’ve tried to shut him out or set him aside or run away from what he’s trying to do in and through me.
I remember reading this passage a year ago and thinking about it in regards to God sending me to Australia. I was excited to go, but when I think back to myself at that time, all I remember is a scared, timid, ignorant young girl filled with a desire to honor God, know him more intimately and be used significantly by Him. I remember reading Mary’s second response and trying so hard to align my spirit and my faith with it. It felt like I was hanging on with about half a mustard seed amount of faith.
And here I am the day of my return from an 11 month adventure in Australia, my world view has been drastically stretched and shifted, my faith has gone miles deeper, my imagination of what God could do and how he might use me has gone wild. My dreams, well, they may not be out of this world, but they’re definitely out of my hometown and my city and even my country. I’m finding that the words the Holy Spirit used a few years ago to describe me are becoming increasingly accurate, I did not expect to identify with these words so soon.–Confident, Powerful, Passionate, Precious, Woman of God, Free-to-dance, Resting securely in arms of love.
And all of a sudden, I can’t think of any other way to respond to God except to respond just the way Mary did. “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” “For nothing is impossible with God.”