When God Changes Everything
The Bible calls Mary the most blessed of all women. And when we meet her in Luke 1:26, we see a young teenage girl who was engaged to be married to Joseph. Engagement, back then, was more binding than it is today. Sans the physical consecration of marriage, an engaged couple was defined and connected to their community as one. Mary, at the age of thirteen or fourteen, was in the midst of planning a wedding. She was preparing for her future, and without a doubt, had a beautiful dream of what that would look like.
And then, God changed everything.
In Luke 1:28-30, the angel, Gabriel, appeared to her and said,
“Grace to you, young woman, for the Lord is with you and so you are anointed with great favor.” 29 Mary was deeply troubled over the words of the angel and bewildered over what this may mean for her. 30 But the angel reassured her, saying, “Do not yield to your fear, Mary, for the Lord has found delight in you and has chosen to surprise you with a wonderful gift.”
Gabriel initiated the interruption of Mary’s life with:
1. The Lord is with you, and
2. God is pleased with you, you are favored, you are anointed
Imagine what a difference it would make if we could remember that God is with us, and that He is pleased with us when we encounter a great shake up in our lives. Wouldn’t it shape the way that we respond to whatever it is that we are facing?
Mary believed and applied those truths. She was bewildered, confused and did not understand what was going to happen to her, but she did not react in disbelief, or freak out because things weren’t working out the way she had planned.
Instead, she asked a few clarifying questions and then replied,
“I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.”
She turned over the ownership of her plans and her future, and then stepped fully into the promise that God had for her. She released her full right to control her own destiny and became an active participant in serving God.
She chose to serve God regardless of the consequences.
And the consequences would come. You see Nazareth, at that time, had a population of about 500 people. She would be the talk of the town, the disgrace of her family, left with an uncertain future, or even worse- face the reality of being stoned to death. And yet, she chose to trust, apply her faith and surrender her life to God.
The Bible’s right, she was the most blessed of all women, but she was also the most tested of all women too.
What is God doing in your life right now that does not make sense?
Is there an area that is just not working out as you had planned?
Do you believe that God is pleased with you and that He is with you? Talk with Him about that, get quiet, get in the Word and listen to what He has to say.
Being Chosen by God (and as believers we are all chosen by God 1Peter 2:9, John 15:16, Ephesians 1:3-4) cuts both ways. There is excitement, passion and blessing, but there is also the opposition and the testing that comes with it too.
Esther is another fabulous example of an unlikely woman who made an eternal impact. She has her own book in the Bible (which I think is cool), and it’s there that we learn about how God sovereignly worked to elevate a Jewish girl to be queen, and delivered His people through her obedience.
The story of Esther takes place 100 years after the Babylonian exile and is all about a Jewish community living in Susa- the Persian Capital. The King of Persia threw two banquets, lasting 187 days, to show off his greatness and splendor. On the last day of the party, the king summonsed Queen Vashti to come and show off her beauty. She refused, and so he had her deposed. Then, he threw a beauty pageant to discover his new queen, and Esther won!
Unaware of her Jewish descent, the king was obsessed with Esther and she possessed both the king’s ear and the king’s heart. In the meantime, Esther’s uncle, Mordecai, learned about a wicked plan to annihilate the Jews from the city, and he challenged her to take the plight of her people to the King. He even suggested that her purpose in being the queen might only be to save her people.
She was blessed, but she was also tested.
And she, like Mary, chose to act in faith, regardless of the consequences.
In Esther 4:13-17 we read her response,
“Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. My young women and I will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.”
She fasted, she prayed, and she moved forward- all the while trusting God with her future.
God is always sovereignly working out His perfect plan. We do not need to fall victim to the lie that we are at the mercy of a fallen world. God is in control and moves powerfully in this world through our circumstances- especially the ones that aren’t turning out as planned.
How do you usually respond when God changes everything?
What’s one step of faith you can take today to be more like Mary and Esther?