The Difficulty of Believing

Angel Gabriel with Mary“Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” Luke 2:45

Meanderings: I was reading through the first chapter of the book of Luke yesterday. In verses 39-45 Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth. Both women are “impossibly” pregnant.  In verse 45 Elizabeth pronounces to Mary how blessed she is because she has believed the Lord’s promises….

I have read this passage many times and it never struck me as anything special. But yesterday it did….and here is why….because Mary believed in the Impossible...

1) She believed she really did see and chat with an angel.

2) She believed that she, a virgin would have a divinely incarnated baby (even though she didn’t understand how).

3) She believed that God’s will was greater than her well-being. (Though she knew what kind of trouble an out-of-wedlock baby would cause for her and her family).

4) She believed most importantly, that her son was to be the Saviour God promised humanity.

That is a lot to ask of anyone, but especially a young woman of about 13 years of age! Yet, she chose to believe and she found favour in God’s eyes for it.  In her own words, she said to the angel Gabriel  “I am the Lord’s servant…may your word to me be fulfilled.” 

Crooked Paths: Mary’s submission to God’s plan, her trust in Him and her belief that it would it would all work out causes me a serious measure of conviction.  God says we too will be blessed when we believe that He will fulfill His promises to us.  But my difficulty in believing is this…I have long-standing prayers that have not been fulfilled.  Though I know that my prayers are in God’s will, still I wait.

I wait for Him to move; to do “my impossible”…to move hearts and souls and draw lives to Him in salvation, to mitigate difficult family situations, to physically heal family and friends, to make right the many wrongs in “my world” and the world around….

Straight Paths: Mary waited a lifetime to see the fulfillment of God’s plan…not just 9 months.  The birth of Jesus Christ was just the beginning of her joy AND her sorrow. In Luke chapter 2, after Jesus was born and later taken to the temple for his dedication, the prophet Simeon told Mary a sword would pierce her soul.

“Simeon said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

As a mother, I cannot even imagine Mary’s level of distraught when her son, the Son of God, was crucified under her very watch. Surely her soul was pierced. Yet, from the beginning, Mary did not think about the cost to her personally. She understood that she was a vessel to fulfill God’s purpose through Jesus’ birth – to save humanity from sin.  She recognized that His timing and will was more important than hers. She understood the “big picture”.  In Luke 1 she clarified her understanding of this:

“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.  From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things
 but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”

As Mary was very much a human and a mother, I suspect there may have been many times when she felt the price God was asking of her was too much…she may have called out to Him in angst….but as history teaches us, she walked with God through the sometimes difficult journey. No doubt God gave her the wisdom and discernment to do so, but in the end, she did not have difficulty believing God’s promises… and her choice to believe the impossible sets an example.

So, as I re-read this passage and think about my own difficulties of belief, I begin to process it all.  I remember that my God is a good God…that He sent His Son to ultimately give us peace on earth; in my personal “world” and the world at large.. and as Mary trusted Him in absolute so can I trust His character AND His promises. And what does that look like?  Well, I as a follower of the risen Jesus Christ I already believe the Impossible.  So, what’s a little more stretching of my faith now? 😉

“Blessed is she who believes that the Lord will fulfill His promises to her.”  I am still waiting…but with sure determination that He will move in “my impossibles”. 

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8 thoughts on “The Difficulty of Believing

  1. Awww…..I love this! It made me think of Mary and Martha and Lazarus. How they asked Jesus to come, but He delayed. His delay meant resurrection for Lazarus, an extraordinary exhibition of God’s great power. Also of Jarius and his daughter. How Jesus delayed to heal the woman with the issue of blood and during that time Jarius’ daughter died. Death was not to great for Jesus to come and heal Jarius’ daughter. That is how it is with us too. We are told to ask and to keep on asking that our joy may be full. How does asking make our joy full? Depends on who we are asking and how. When we ask Jesus, with our heart focused on Him and His ability our joy is full, because in His presence is fullness of joy. Our time of asking may seem long but I love to take my prayers and soak in His presence and that allows His joy to fill my heart, knowing that my hope in Him will never be disappointed.

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