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At age 16, Madame Jeanne Guyon (1648-1717) was forced into an arranged marriage with an invalid 22 years older. She found her marriage to be one of utter humiliation. Her husband was often angry and melancholy. Her mother-in-law was a merciless critic. Even the maid despised her. In spite of her best attempts at devotion to her husband and family, she was subjected to relentless criticism.

Forbidden by her husband to attend church, she sought God in His Word and worshiped Him in secret. She learned that even in the midst of her dreary circumstances she was "perfectly fine--within the safe hands of God." In her book Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ, she wrote, "Abandonment [to Christ] is the key to the fathomless depths. Abandonment is the key to the spiritual life."

How can we respond to difficult circumstances with acceptance and abandonment? Mary's response to the angel in Luke 1: 38 shows us. The only way to have that same attitude is to believe that God's will is "good and acceptable and perfect" (Romans 12: 2), and to lay down our will and patiently submit to Him day by day.

(From a sermon by Ajai Prakash, In The Safe Hands of God, 12/22/2010)

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