The Voyager: Encouragement for Life's Journey
Below you will find articles from our Church's leadership meant to encourage you and give you insight into questions about life, faith, and God.
In this article, Pastor Jeff reflects on Mary's words in response to God's will for her life.
“I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” (Luke 1:38, NLT)
This statement, uttered from Mary’s heart, astounds me. This trust is not based on that fact that the plan of God has been completely explained to her. After the angel Gabriel gives her a summary of what is in store for her, Mary is in the position to have more questions than can be accurately counted. She has been told that she, an unmarried young virgin, is going to become pregnant and give birth to the Son of God. Through her, the One who transcends time and space, He whose right hand spread out the heavens (Isaiah 48:13) would become a baby. God would encase himself in human flesh and walk among us, and it would all happen through her.
What about all the cultural and social implications of her pregnancy? How would her and Joseph’s families respond to her expanding condition? How could she and Joseph convince the society around them that the only logical conclusion about the cause of her pregnancy was not the correct one? These are only the beginning of the questions that Gabriel’s pronouncement did not answer. Yet Mary’s response is, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” Amazing!!
It seems to be reasonable for Mary to ask to know more about that for which she was signing up, or better stated, that for which God had signed her up. “God, I am willing to consider your plan, but I need to hash out some details with you. There is some need-to-know information that I have yet to understand. Explain those things to me, and I’m all in.” This approach to “trust” in God is typical to humanity – “Explain it to me, and I will trust You.”
Such an approach is humanism disguised as faith in God. It focuses one’s trust and reliance not on God, but on one’s own intellect as seen in one’s ability to understand the given situation. Proverbs 3:5-6 reveals the reality of Mary’s trust in God. She chose to trust in God with all her heart and not to depend on her own understanding. Mary chose to seek God’s will in all that she did, trusting Him to show her the path to take to effectively navigate, step-by-step, all the nuances of the circumstances that she and Joseph would face. Mary understood that she did not have to understand it all. She chose to trust that God already had all the answers to the unspoken questions that permeated her mind. Therefore, she chose to be a conduit for the miraculous, a means by which God performed a feat that challenges the wonder of creation itself. Through her, God became human and the world would never be the same.
The message is clear. When we approach God with the same trust that Mary exemplified, we are positioned to join God in the supernatural expression of His character and purposes. We become living channels through whom Jesus is revealed right into our situations and circumstances. This is the fountain from which transformation flows, both in our lives and the lives of others God uses us to impact.
As we approach the threshold of 2021, change in the upcoming year and beyond is not found in making “resolutions” that focus superficially on symptomatic behavior. True change is found in the attitude that motivated Mary’s humble words – “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” It is a statement of identity (“I am the Lord’s servant”) that establishes a context of trust that genuinely believes what God says to be true, regardless of our lack of understanding concerning how it will all work out. It is trust born of relationship, reliance on God that makes the time to listen to Him, allowing the Holy Spirit to progressively apply the truth of who God is to our lives, the truth of the character and purposes of God as revealed in the Bible’s pages.
Do you want 2021 to be different? Then take a lesson from the words of a teenager. Use the attitude and motivation of Mary as a template for your approach to life – “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.”
“If you have raced with men on foot and they have wearied you, how will you compete with horses?” Jeremiah 12:5a
God is the biggest visionary of all. He envisions the minutest details of your life and how they fit with his grand vision of all creation restored to its original purpose. He is orchestrating those details and taking you on a journey of your complete restoration to the purpose for which you are created. On this journey you will continually be discovering who he created you to be.
There are a few things that God has taught me on my journey that have made me into the person I am today. He has taught me how to love well, how to trust him even when it hurts, and how to live from the place of knowing I am loved by Him. I have a lot more to learn, but I am so grateful for these lessons. Nothing I’ve done for the Lord has been as important as learning to become who he has created me to be, and that sense of being is what has allowed me to participate in his vision of loving people into their purpose.
It is my passion to help people rise above the impossibility of their situation into abundant life and the destiny that God has planned for them. Too often I’ve seen people, including myself, miss opportunities to realize more of their destiny. It is not the outside obstacles that trip us up, although it is easy to point to those things as the reason for our “can’t do” attitude. It is the inner issues of the heart; fear, self-pity, offense, pride, that so often way lay us and take us on a detour through the wilderness for 40 years when we could have gone right into the promised land. Another lesson I have learned on my journey is that the outward obstacles we come up against can be our scapegoat for why we can’t move into our purpose or they, through the grace of God, can serve to mold us into people of destiny. Destiny, at the end of the day, is not about what we do but about who we are becoming.
In Jeremiah 12 the prophet voices a complaint to the Lord. He asks, “Why does the way of the wicked prosper?” I’ve asked similar questions before. It usually goes something like this, “Why is this so hard? Am I doing it wrong? Is there a shortcut? Does this ever get easier?”
God’s answer to us is “I never said it would be easy, but will you trust me that it will be worth it?”
God, knowing that the process is difficult, will give us promises to hold onto during the journey. However, it is our choice whether we will embark on the journey he has called us to. During the journey, our mind is renewed so that we are able to carry the anointing and destiny God has for us. We begin to think like God thinks, recognize his will, and expel the lies we believe that keep us from carrying out his will. That is why I say destiny is more about who you are becoming than what you are doing. But it is not just in the process that we will be tested – even in the realization of our dreams we will continue to face challenges. That’s why we need the process. It’s the process of realizing destiny that develops the strength in us to steward our destiny. It never gets easy, but it is always worth it.
Article by Pastor Shawna Carpenter