Mary, did you know?
Updated: Sep 14
There was once a young man whose name was Jack. Jack and some buddies were visiting the grand canyon during their spring break in college. At the grand canyon they were taking in the sights. Jack, in his sight seeing passions wandered away from the group. So enthralled by all that was around him, Jack took a wrong step and fell right off the side of the Canyon! As he was falling, he reached out for the only thing he could grab, a branch on the side of the cliff. After regaining his senses, Jack realized that the cliff he was on was more than a thousand feet from the ground. Knowing this and that he couldn't hold on to the branch forever, he began calling out for help. "HELP! HELP!" Jack screamed desperately.
After several attempts, Jack heard a voice
"Jack, I can hear you." said the voice
"You can hear me?!" asked Jack.
"Yes Jack, I can hear you and I can help you."
"Okay! But who are you? Where are you?"
"I am the Lord, Jack. I'm every where."
"God?" Jack replied.
"Yes, that's me." God said.
Oh yes! Please God you have to save me. I'll do anything, I'll never drink again, lie to my parents nothing!"
"Okay, okay Jack easy... let's save the talking for later. For right now, let's get you back to safety."
"Thank you Lord."
"No problem, you just have to do everything I say."
"Of course, anything Lord."
Okay first things first, let go of the branch."
"Let go of the branch???"
"That's right, let go of the branch."
There was a long pause...
Jack then cried out "HELP! IS ANYBODY ELSE UP THERE!?"
Jack, like most of us... didn't have a whole lot of faith. When faced with the uncertainty of what would happen if he let go of the branch, his faith and confidence in God ran out. We are very similar. We are eager to trust in God when we understand what's on the other side... which is great. Until God asks us to go into the unknown. To take a job out of college in a city we've never been in, to go to a college where we don't know as many people, to share the gospel with a friend who might or might not receive it awkwardly. The examples can go on and on, but the point remains: God is not concerned about how certain we are, but how faithful we can be.
I am reminded of the story of Mary in Luke 1:26-38. You know the story. Mary, the prospective mother of Jesus is told by the angel that she is to conceive the literal Son of God - Jesus. Not your usual Tuesday, but hey. Initially, she reacts how most sane people would "Yeahhhh, not sure how feel about that one angel man." But upon further consideration and conversation, she jumps all in as she says “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. (v.36) In 2018 terms basically, "Idk how this is gonna go, but let's get this bread."
Couple of things to mention about Mary - 1) Biblical Scholars say she was about 14 when the angel came to her. Fourteen. Years. Old. Are you kidding me? That's a freshman in high school giving birth to Jesus Christ. This is a massive uncertainty. 2) She's engaged to Joseph... which means they've never had sexual relations. Which means, you guessed it, IT LOOKS LIKE SHE'S BEEN STEPPING OUT ON OLE' JOE. This is a huge uncertainty. What will Joseph think? Will he believe I've been faithful? What will the community think, they know we're not married? Will they call me an adultery ? Will they stone me? So, to answer the question "Mary, did you know?" NO, Mary did not know! But, she knew who God was and that he never fails. With all of these uncertainties, Mary was certain that her God was going come through on His end.
This is the place we all must come too. A place in which, in the midst of uncertain circumstances, we can be certain in who God is and that His promises are always true.
Think of it this way: I used to run relay races in my track days. Two meets in a row I had really tough races. When exchanging the baton, which is what you use in relay races, to the other runner they dropped it... twice. Two weeks in a row, my dude drops the baton and disqualifies us from the race. What makes it worse, both times we were in position to win the race. Because of that, I began complaining and telling my coach I did not want to run that event any longer. In his reply to my whining he told me something I'll never forget: "Nick, it's not your job to worry about how your teammate is going to perform, but it is your job to run your best and do what you're supposed to do." THIS is not only great 4x100 advice, but also is great spiritual guidance as well. When it comes to God's plan in our lives, it's not about if the place we're moving has a great cost of living, or amenities, or our college has a nice REC center or even if our friend will react positively to us sharing the gospel. No, God's plan in our lives is about running OUR race. It's about doing whatever God has called us to do to best of our ability and not worrying about if things are going to work out in our favor or not.
Faithfulness is about being certain in God and his call on your life in the midst of uncertain circumstances. Are you feeling faithful? Or do you continue to research and weight out the options when God's already made it clear where/what he wants you do. Faithfulness, it has nothing to do with certainty in circumstances, but everything to do with your certainty in Him. Run your race.