Luke 1:45 (NIV) Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
Imagine if you will Mary. A teenager who just visited by the angel Gabriel is told that she will have a baby. Not just any baby, but the son of the Most High God. His Name will be Jesus. He will be great! His Kingdom will never end. Grand words to hear…but the details a mess. She was a virgin. Betrothed to another, how would she ever convince him of such a story? People would talk. She could be shunned. In a society much different from that of today, there were many mitigating factors in her pregnancy. Yet Mary said, “I am the Lord’s Servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.”
What would you say? What might be our response if the Lord came to us in a dream or vision with a plan that wrecked our comfort zone and a complete deviation from the life we have planned? How might you react? I am thinking myself today. The Will of God is perfect but it is not what we would choose? The Plan of God leads to hope and never disappointment but is it what we really want? We say that we believe in God. We go so far as to imply trusting Him, too. But when it comes down to the moment that our faith is tested, flushed from our well-padded life and thrust into the unknown and quite uncomfortable, what will be our response? What will we say? What will we do? Mary acknowledged from the depths of her heart that day she was a Servant of God. Of course, she was or God would not have chosen her to carry His Beloved Son. “May Your Word to me be fulfilled.” Obedience. She did not waver at the time of decision but stepped out by faith. When she arrived at her cousin Elizabeth’s house, she was met at the door by a protruding belly. The baby inside leapt in the Presence of the Lord. Elizabeth’s reaction, “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His Promises to her!”
Luke 1:46-55 (NIV)
And Mary said: “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.”
Mary had no foreknowledge of what was to come in her life as the mother of Jesus. Had she been a little older, I wonder if she would have had more questions born of experience? She knew only what the Word of God and testimony of others told her about the Lord. She took Him at His Word and moved on. “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” She didn’t know the pains and travail of childbirth. She did not envision giving birth in a crowded manager surrounded by livestock. She did not think about hiding her baby from the soldiers of Herod bent on his destruction. This would be only the beginning of what would eventually lead her to the foot of His Cross.
There was a woman who extended gracious hospitality to Elisha in 2 Kings 4. The Lord told Elisha to foretell of the birth of her son in the coming year. Her response after years of barrenness was “No, my Lord! Please, man of God, don’t mislead your servant.” She didn’t come to God asking for anything just followed the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to care for Elisha. The Blessing of the Lord fell upon her but she begged him not to say it if it wasn’t so. Later, her boy would become sick and eventually die. The woman laid him on the bed, saddled a donkey and went straight to the source which was Elijah. She demanded God’s Promise. “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” She was not going anywhere. Why? She had a promise. Her promise was that child and she wasn’t going anywhere until her promise lived again. I want to be… I need to be… it is a blessing to be a woman who is like that. What is the promise that the Lord has given you today? Are you living for it? Or have you let it die? Are you willing to leave it behind? Or will you protect it at all costs? Blessed is she who lives on the Word of God.
Faith begins when we take God at His Word…alone. When nothing else confirms it and usually everything makes it improbable, this is the moment that we decide what will define our decision. Hope is defined as that which cannot be seen or personally produced. Faith attaches to the promise of hope and refuses to let go with full assurance that it will come to pass. Confidence is born in those who decide that hope is worth having and willing to endure the process by which faith is procured. It is born of testing. It is a product of trials. It is birthed in the fire of refinement. It is marked by radical obedience and total acceptance of God at His Word alone.
Luke 1:37 (NIV) For no word from God will ever fail.
These words of the Angel Gabriel to Mary still are true today for you and me. The Word of the Lord cannot and will not ever fail us. If it has not come to pass either it is not the right time or we somehow left it behind along the way.
Isaiah 55:8-11 (NIV)
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
When our son was diagnosed with cancer the first time, I went straight to my prayer closet which just so happen to be a bathroom on the eleventh floor of the hospital. I came boldly into His Presence and He gave me His Word, after much yelling, screaming and crying until I was utterly broken in heart and spirit enough to listen, that our son would live and not die. The only contingency on this promise was that I believe. No problem. The kid sailed through treatment and went back to school just in time to be diagnosed again. Okay. We got this by faith Lord and are standing on your Word. Bam! Yep, another diagnosis. Now they are coming more rapidly. The doctors are beginning to panic. We have entered the Realm of Hope. No worries…right? Okay now comes round four. Lord, hey it’s me, I am still hanging on to that promise you gave me. What do you mean insurance won’t cover it? The ensuing battle for coverage drained me until crawling up to the edge of my faith, exhausting all my strength and collapsing in a heap at the Lord’s Feet, I was done. Handing Him the Promise and saying, “Lord have Your Way!” I can do nothing else to save His Life. He belongs to You! What? Insurance will cover the transplant. Come to the hospital next week. One year later – hello remission! God’s Word came to pass despite all odds and overriding statistics. To claim the Word of God for our life can be a fight to the finish – it takes us to the end of our self until all we have left is His Promise. This is when we find it is more than enough.
God always intended to give us the best of everything and make our live an existence filled with love, joy and peace. We chose something different. We decided darkness was more entertaining and sin an acceptable lifestyle. Turning back is not easy. Our flesh tries to prevail. Repentance is essential. We must follow His Way. No one comes to the Father but by the Son. The Son confirms the Word of God and His Spirit is the guarantee that it will come to pass if we do not give up. I guess it all depends on how much we are willing to trust the Lord, will we let Him have His Way and is the promise worth pursuing in our life. When it came to my son, child and 6’1” baby – I was desperate for God’s Promise. I could not walk away. I had to believe that even if it meant the Lord raising him from the dead that His Word would not fail our child. This is the life of a Servant of God who lives by faith and confident hope. It means taking God at His Word and remained there until the promise comes to pass knowing that it will based solely on Who He is!
Hebrews 6:13-20 (NIV)
When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, saying, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.” And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised. People swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.
I love the story of Abraham. It has been a constant encouragement for me. Abraham believed two things that God does not lie or change His Mind. It was concrete in his mindset even the day that he began to climb the mountain of sacrifice. He did so believing that if God had to that He would raise his son (his promise) from the dead. Abraham’s faith did not weaken with step of his journey. He was persistent. He persevered. “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed just as it had been said to him.” (Romans 4:18) Our hope is anchored in the Word of God. It is what keeps our soul firm and securely fixed by faith in Jesus Christ.
Do you still believe? Do you have faith in God’s inability to lie or change His Mind? Do you believe Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever? Faith and hope are a decision. We must decide what we believe and live what we believe each day. I believe God’s Word for my life is good and favorable. I believe in His Great Love for me. I also believe that His Grace is enough for me. What will I do with that? This will determine the outcome of my life. To trust the Lord means more than saying one thing and doing another. Do I trust Him enough today to say, “Let Your Will be done!”
Will I walk by faith and not by sight? Will I allow myself to believe and have faith in His Word alone? After all, faith comes by hearing the Word of God. I want to be like Mary. I want others to acknowledge that “blessed is she”. It all begins with what I believe and who I entrust with my life. Faith and hope make this life something that I never could as God’s Promises become my reality.
Matthew 19:26 (NIV)
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”