In a slow reading of Luke 2, the words “She was thoroughly shaken” catch my attention. It might be because I feel compassion for a young girl who hasn’t experienced much in the way of sorrow and suffering. I wonder what that was like for her? But perhaps it’s because I relate to the word. Whatever the reason, I find myself wondering how she could move from being “shaken” to acceptance in so short a time.
It’s intriguing to me that Mary didn’t spring into action or fall apart. How did she have the presence of mind for a coherent conversation with an angel? Is that the way God made her, someone calm in crisis? Or was that the Spirit of God wrapped around her, holding her together so she didn’t fall apart?
We don’t know, do we? In those moments when we are shaken and life turns upside, we only know that somehow, we can enter the moment. Which is what Mary did. She was somehow able to listen. She could hear and understand what Gabriel said to her in midst of feeling shaken and uncertain. It is remarkable to me. So often when I am shaken, emotions are so chaotic and reactive that I’m not able to hear very well. But Mary was not only able to converse, but to listen, to hear, and to receive what was about to happen. She was able to take in “With God nothing is impossible” and believe it. How else could she say, “Let it be to me…”?
Mary accepted what was being given. It was not blind acceptance, nor forced or resigned. But one she came to by way of who she believed God to be. Because of that belief, she was able to surrender to a reality she had no way of understanding or predicting. Because she knew, in the end, it would not be up to her. God would have to do it and the God she saw, the God she knew was utterly worthy of her trust.
Years later, that same belief, that same Spirit wrapped around her again and held her together as she watched her son die. She shook from shock in the beginning. She shook from sorrow at the end. Her belief was not without question, but it was absolute.
If we were to ask Mary how she was able to accept what she was given, I wonder if her response would be something like, “I knew whose hands in which I traveled. I knew whose eyes gazed kindly at me. And I knew he would do me nothing but good.”
How about you? Do you believe Jesus will do you nothing but good? What are the life stories that cause you to question His movement toward you? What draws you to Him?