Saturday, November 15, 2014

What If Mary Had Known?

I know, I know, it's not even close to Christmas yet. But if you want to pretend like it is a long ways off and you live in Minnesota, don't look out your window! It sure seems like Christmas out there already.

Today we started a small group at our church based on the book "Christmas is Not Your Birthday." I told my daughter Salinda, who was born on December 25th, that she should go up to our small group coordinator at church and shove the book in her face and yell, "LIAR!" but I digress. ANd while I'm digressing I should also put that we would love to have you join us for the last part of this connect group -- you've only missed one so far -- so let me know if you would like to attend the next four Saturday mornings... Ok. Done digressing now.

The small group this morning talked about whether or not we were expecting a miracle this Christmas and whether or not we were open to God doing a miracle THROUGH us. YIKES. I'm pretty sure that I am happy to have God do miracles FOR me and miracles IN me, but THROUGH me? I'm not so sure. Would I be willing, like Mary was, to be the vessel in which God would put a miracle that I would bring to life? In Spanish the words used to say "give birth" are "bring to the light." Am I willing to be the womb where God puts a miracle knowing that He is going to bring that miracle to the light through me? Wow. Deep thoughts for a Saturday morning.

I was pondering the question this morning of why God chose to only ask Mary to do the first step. I wonder if her answer would have different if God would have said, through the angel, "Hey there, Mary. I'd like to ask you a pretty big favor. I would like you to be the mother of my Son. The first 30 years or so shouldn't be too hard, but the next three will be kinda tough. And oh yeah, by the way, he's going to have to die a horrible death at 33 and you are going to be there to watch. Interested?"

I want to say that Mary would have said, "My soul glorifies the Lord and my Spirit rejoices in God my Savior" even if she had known the whole story. I hope that she would have. But God in His wisdom didn't tell her the whole story. He just told her that was going to be with her no matter what.

In many ways God has done miracles through Bart and I. Miracles like our grandchildren who would not exist had we not adopted their parents. Miracles like the growth and healing that has taken place in our children's lives over the years. Miracles like the lives of people who have been changed through our ministry in 4 different churches since we were married. And miracles like children having forever families and sticking with them that are a result of my adoption-related positions over the years.

But in each of those stories is a tapestry woven of not only highlights and bright moments, but deep dark troubled times of doubt and pain. We have had hard times... some really hard times ... as those of you who have read this blog for years are well aware of. We obeyed God at the beginning of each of these "miracles" and took the first step, having no idea where it all would like.

I want to say that Bart and I would have said yes to God had we known the whole story. I hope we would have. But God in His wisdom doesn't tell us the whole story. He just tells that he is going to be with us no matter what.

And He has. As Matt Redmond penned, "Never once did we ever walk alone, never once did we make it on our own, You are faithful...."

So today I guess I want to ask you what unanticipated hard times came as a result of you saying yes to God for step one. What valleys have you gone through or are you walking through right now?

Or are you at the beginning stages of a new journey -- the idea for a miracle is being planted in you right now. Are you going to say yes to God for step one?

Even though life is still far from perfect, I am not at all regretting our decision to say yes to that first request. So if you're struggling, remember that never once will you ever walk alone. And if you are embarking on the journey, dive in. Whatever the miracle God has planned for you He will see you through.

And maybe, just maybe, in her heart of hearts, Mary did know that it was going to be a difficult journey. But she pondered these things and day by day lived the life she was called to live and God was faithful.

And regardless of what point you are at in the journey of His miracle for you, He will be faithful to you as well.

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