Have ever waited for something, filled with anticipation and hope? And once you finally received it, you thought, “What in the world??” I must admit, there have been times in my life where I’ve thought, “I’m doing what God asked—check! I’m going to church—check! I’m reading my Bible—check! Okay, God—I’m ready for you to bless me now.” Then, when He doesn’t answer my prayers in exactly the way I was expecting, I feel cheated, confused, and even discarded. I’m afraid this reveals more about my inconsistencies and pride than it does about God’s love for me. It reveals more about my lack of trust in our God. He never promised to give me what I wanted, but He promises that He is good and will never abandon me. He promises to work all things for the good of those who love Him, those who are called according to His purpose. So the real question is, how much do I love Him? How much do I trust Him?
I imagine this must be how Mary felt when she gave birth to Jesus, the promised Son of God, and laid Him in a feeding trough surrounded by animals. Mary received some of the most shocking but hopeful promises from God within a year of when she was to marry Joseph. She learned that not only was she going to conceive and give birth to a son but that this son would be God’s own and would reign over Israel forever. In response, she asked one question: “How can this be?” I don’t know about you, but I think I would have a lot of questions for the angel Gabriel. But the Bible doesn’t tell us Mary did. Instead, it says that when the angel answered her with, “For nothing will be impossible with God,” she accepted it. That’s a hefty promise from God. However, Mary trusted that He would keep His promise. Even when her son was born under less than ideal circumstances, even when her son was under attack through most of His life on Earth, even when her son was crucified, Mary had treasured God’s promise in her heart and trusted that He would fulfill it. It probably didn’t look like she thought it would or hoped it would, but she trusted that God always has and always will be good.
How much better would our lives be if we trusted God with that same confidence? How much easier might we see God’s hand in our lives if we remembered the promise that He is good? The Bible tells us that Mary was highly favored, blessed, and the Lord was with her. So, it may be easy to think that Mary was so much better than we are now, so much more holy. And while she was holy, these attributes of Mary are attributes that we have ourselves as believers in Christ. We are highly favored, we are blessed, and the Lord is with us. The Lord has already supplied us with favor, blessings, and His presence. He has a plan for our lives and for our world that will be accomplished despite the brokenness within ourselves and in our surroundings. Trusting Him does not change that plan or make it succeed. Instead, it allows us to be both a spectator and participant in His plan. Praise our God, for He is good!