Summary: 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”, and to lay down
Opening illustration: 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. (Illustration by David Roper, Our Daily Bread)
Let us turn to Luke 1 and see how each one of us can associate and receive those blessings …
Introduction: We have here an account of the mother of our Lord; though we are not to pray to her, yet we ought to praise God for her. Christ must be born miraculously. The angel’s address means only, Hail, thou that art the especially chosen and favored of the Most High, to attain the honor Jewish mothers have so long desired. This wondrous salutation and appearance troubled Mary. The angel then assured her that she had found favor with God, and would become the mother of a son whose name she should call Jesus, the Son of the Highest, one in a nature and perfection with the Lord God. JESUS! The name that refreshes the fainting spirits of humbled sinners; sweet to speak and sweet to hear, Jesus, a Savior! We know not his riches and our own poverty, therefore we run not to him; we perceive not that we are lost and perishing; therefore a Savior is a word of little relish. Were we convinced of the huge mass of guilt that lies upon us, and the wrath that hangs over us for it, ready to fall upon us, it would be our continual thought, Is the Savior mine? And that we might find him so, we should trample on all that hinders our way to him. Mary’s reply to the angel was the language of faith and humble admiration, and she asked no sign for confirming her faith. Apparently the Angel of the Lord imparted blessings upon her life and future.
How do we know that we are in the safe Hands of God?
1. Fear (you may have) Not ~ v. 30a
Fear is an immediate and intense internal alarm system that alerts us to the presence of danger. It prepares us either to flee from or fight against the perceived danger. The Bible uses words like fear, afraid, terror, dread, anxious, tremble, shake and quake over 850 times to portray this core human emotion. Healthcare professionals use terms like fear, anxiety, panic attack and phobia to illuminate the spectrum of our fears. For our purposes we use fears and anxiety interchangeably.
Mary obviously had many fears … being a teenager, her main fear was how it was going to happen? You’ll find all the contemporary teenagers coming and asking the same questions …
We too may have many fears in our lives, job, future, marriage, spouse, school and most being the fear of the unknown. But why should we fear not?
(i) If we reflect on whether God has ever walked out on us, we all would easily testify that, that has never ever happened but we can give instances when we have walked out on Him. The Word of God tells us that He goes before us, with us and hedges us all around. (Red Sea)
(ii) Similarly when we reflect on whether God has fallen short or stopped working in the lives of His followers, it would be found to be untrue. We may have failed Him a number of times but has He ever failed you?
(iii) He will not dessert or leave you hanging half way … Even today when we go through the fire or the waters, He doesn’t leave us or forsake us … He goes with us. He is a God who has never left us in the past, never forsaken us today and will never do so in the future. Has God abandoned anyone of you here this morning?