Scripture: Luke 1-2
In Luke’s Gospel, the story is told of how an angel came to Mary to tell her of the coming of the Messiah. She believed his proclamation and the vision of what her future would become. Why? What drove this uneducated young girl to tolerate very difficult circumstances, even with the knowledge that her situation would not end well? What made her endure the pain of watching her son die in such a humiliating way? The answer lies in the clarity of her vision and what she chose to “ponder in her heart.” Read his words from Luke 1:31-33 (NASB): “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”
The angel, filled with grace and truth, addressed Mary’s human need for security and significance. By calling her by name, he let her know she is known. Her good days and bad days, her desire to please Him, her weakness, her (possible) argument with her sister, all of that fully known to God. The angel calls her by name, tells her she is safe (Don’t be afraid), and then gives her significance before God…you have found favor. You are safe, you are significant.
I find myself daily forgetting that my security and significance is “hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3 NASB), so I withdraw to protect myself, or exaggerate to sound important, or masterfully manipulate others to make me feel loved or valued. The power of the angel’s words not only gave Mary strength for the initial inception of the Christ-child but also for the panicky moments over the next three decades of loving and caring for her Son. In Luke 2, we see what helped her hold the vision that the angel gave her: she pondered. Mary took in whatever came her way and filtered it through her grid of security and significance before her God. And in that pondering, she found strength to walk through the valley of the shadow of death.
I imagine that her self-talk throughout her days may have been, “Don’t be afraid…your position with God is secure…focus on Jesus your Messiah.” I wonder how many times she repeated those same words to herself, especially when her vision did not match her current reality. When she “lost” her 12-year-old son in a different city for a couple of days, her mind had to have vacillated between “Don’t be afraid, Mary. Your position with God is secure. Jesus belongs to Him…we will be okay,” and “How in the world did my husband let this happen!?!?” Or when she saw his body being carried into the tomb: “Don’t be afraid…I am still secure with God…Jesus belongs to Him…I believe…I believe.” I often struggle in times of crisis to remember to breathe, to calm my heart with the truth that my ultimate position is safe and secure, and to keep my eyes on the Author and Finisher of my faith. True vision requires holding fast to these truths every five minutes of the day.
ACTION: What are some truths that you ponder on to bring you back to the vision the Father has given you? How do those truths speak to your need for security or significance? Take some time to write those truths down today and let your mind ponder on them before making any decisions.