Yes to humiliation.
Yes to being misunderstood.
Yes to an uncertain and frightening future.
During that time, death was the penalty for pregnancy outside of marriage.
I can’t imagine the emotions she felt — a young girl, being visited by an angel who told her she was who God has chosen to bear the Savior of the world. A supernatural conception. Who had ever imagined such a thing? It was crazy … wasn’t it?
I’m convinced that Mary didn’t entirely understand the magnitude of her “Yes.” Or what her future would look like.
“Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”
Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”
The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God.”
Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.”
I haven’t been visited by an angel bearing world-changing news lately, have you?
But that doesn’t mean that God isn’t continually asking us to say “Yes” to Him — in big and small ways throughout our lives.
“Yes” to a difficult marriage.
“Yes” to forgiving someone who has hurt us.
“Yes” to confronting parenting challenges we’d rather ignore.
“Yes” to an opportunity He has for us — that includes uncertainty and risk.
What holds us back from saying “Yes” to those whispers?
For many of us, it’s fear. I know that’s the #1 barrier to my ability to say “Yes!” to God with gusto.
I can become paralyzed with the thought, “What is God going to ask me to do?”
As a little girl, I remember being terrified that God was going to ask move to Africa and be a missionary. I’ve learned as I’ve gotten more mature in my walk with God, that He will ask me to do some things that I really don’t want to do. But when I obey Him, He is faithful to equip me and change my heart.
For example, I never thought I would be in ministry. In fact, I always say I was “tricked” into it.
A friend of mine wanted me to work with her on our church’s women’s ministry team with her. She knew me well enough to know I’d probably say “No.” So, she invited me to a “girlfriend” dinner. Once there, I learned it was actually a women’s ministry committee meeting. I, unknowingly, had been drafted to the team.
I wanted to say “No way. This is not for me.”
What could I possibly offer?
I was insecure.
I felt inadequate.
It would be hard.
Bottom line. He had the wrong girl. I didn’t want to do it.
That was 17 years ago and ministry to women and moms is one of the hardest and most amazing things I’ve ever done.
I didn’t get a visit by an angel. But God used a “sneaky” friend to spark something in me that night.
I knew God was calling me to serve Him in a way I couldn’t fully understand or imagine.
I knew I would not have any peace until I said “Yes.”
I love this quote by Franciois Fenelon: “Happy is the soul which … holds itself ceaselessly in the hands of its Creator, ready to do everything He wishes; which never stops saying to itself a hundred times a day, “Lord, what would you have me to do?”
I’m not there yet, but that’s where I want to be.
As Mary found out, that’s where all the good stuff is.
Even when, at times, it’s hard and heartbreaking.
We may never know the long-lasting impact of our “Yes” to God.
Certainly, Mary did not.
But I’m so glad she took the risk.
More than 2,000 years later, we are still reaping the rewards.