Sometimes a song can stop you in your tracks. Has that ever happened to you? Family Life Radio started playing Christmas music the day after Thanksgiving and as I was cleaning and preparing to decorate for Christmas, Breath of Heaven came on. For a moment stopped and put myself in Mary’s shoes.
Can you just imagine? Pregnant out of wedlock in a culture where the consequences for that were steep. There were serious repercussions for that! We don’t really think about that since it’s so normalized here in modern times. But that was a life changer in a bad way back then.
As I listened to the words I just couldn’t help but feel some anxiety for her. I wondered if anxiety was a close companion during those times or if she was so convinced of God’s calling on her life that she didn’t care what anyone else thought.
The path Mary was called to walk was hard, without question. She had incredible clarity and confirmation of what God was asking her to do but no one else had witnessed God’s call on her life. Thankfully, God provided a supportive husband who likely encouraged her to persevere.
This all obviously happened much before the book of John was written, but I came across this dialogue between Thomas and Jesus and it seemed relevant to this season.
“Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way? ‘ Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me'” (John 14:5-6).
Mary was carrying The Way, The Truth and The Life!
As I kept thinking about it, I started to wonder how much insight God allowed her to have. God equips those he calls and we are all equipped through our families and experiences in life. Sometimes we are asked to follow blindly and other times we have some clarity and insight. The more I’ve thought about it and put myself in Mary’s shoes, I’ve come to think Mary was not following blindly one step at a time in her calling.
Considering she was in the line of David and fully Jewish, I’m guessing she knew the Old Testament prophesies about God’s Son and the long-awaited Messiah. No doubt, God had sufficiently prepared her for the task He would ask her to do, as he does with each of His children. God had placed her in a family that knew scripture and Jewish tradition. She was likely familiar with the passages in scripture that foretold Jesus’ coming and the life he would live. Answers In Genesis has a great article about all the prophecies for Jesus’s whole life but three in particular stood out as I read through the article thinking specifically about Jesus’s birth:
In Micah 5 she would have read:
Isaiah 7 would have told her:
Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)
She would have likely known the prophesy written about in Matthew 2:
And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, so that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, that he would be called a Nazarene. (Matthew 2:23)
I wonder if she searched scripture after the shock of the angel’s visit wore off. In the account in Luke we are told she pondered these things in her heart, so I’m guessing she did. How exciting to witness God working and the Bible stories being played out before her very eyes!
The Gospel of Matthew gives us a very matter or fact version of the story but Luke actually records Elisabeth’s blessing to Mary and Mary’s lyrical response. Mary was fully convinced and all-in on God’s calling for her life:
Mary’s Song of Praise: The Magnificat
And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”
Just as Mary carried The Way, The Truth and The Life, we are ambassadors for the Way, The Truth, and The Life.
Sometimes when we are called, we doubt God’s calling on our life because we don’t know what’s coming next and feel like we are not equipped, right? But we have to remember and focus on the fact that, like Mary, we have also been uniquely prepped and prepared to live out our calling, whatever that is. God equips those He calls, those who keep their eyes on Him. Hopefully this little walk in Mary’s shoes will give us some confidence to walk bravely.
Mary walked confidently in God’s calling.
I don’t think we do her justice by assuming she struggled with what God asked He to do. Scripture does not hint at that at all. Was it easy? Absolutely not! But just as we often find, when we are obediently walking out God’s calling, we have a resolve that isn’t shaken by what the world throws at us. If we were to really walk in Mary’s shoes, we would find our eyes focused heavenward and grateful for the work God was doing through us.
This Christmas, let’s take some encouragement from the walk in Mary’s shoes. Let’s walk confidently in the way Jesus has called us. We won’t likely have an angel deliver our calling, but if we are walking with God He will show us the way.
May we keep our eyes heavenward, stay in God’s word, seek solid teachings and unashamedly live out our our faith and our calling!