A devotion from Cheryl Zelenka’s book Facing Trials: Thoughts for Meditation http://bookstore.westbowpress.com/AdvancedSearch/Default.aspx?SearchTerm=Zelenka
“Mary lived in invisibility in the moments of an ordinary, obscure life, as far as anyone in her own life knew. And yet, in the living of her life, quietly, faithfully, God noticed her…..God saw her and she found favor and pleased His heart. God always sees…. Even when no one else is noticing.” -Sally Clarkson
“But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.” Luke 21:14 (NIV)
Do you ever feel invisible? Do you ever feel like you are so ordinary that nobody, not even God could notice or use you for a purpose? If so, be encouraged by the story of Mary, the woman chosen to give birth to the Savior of the World.
The Virgin Mary lived her life in quiet faithfulness and God noticed her as she lived her day-to-day life. The bible does not remark that she was a great beauty, like Esther. Nor was Mary an incredibly intelligent and gifted girl, at least not as far as we know. She did not have to be talented or outwardly beautiful to get God’s attention. Her simple faith and goodness is what found her the favor of our Creator.
This favor came at a great cost to this young woman. Her trials would put many of our sufferings to shame. We ought to find encouragement in her perseverance and faith to accept the path God decided to lead her down. She did not shout from the rooftops that she was carrying the Savior of the World. No, it was with quiet submission that she accepted the will of God.
Mary must have felt great anxiety when facing her betrothed with the news of her pregnancy. Joseph had not known her intimately, and had decided to divorce her quietly. God provided for Mary by sending an angel to Joseph in a dream. In Matthew 1:20 the angel said, ““Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a Son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.”
When Joseph woke up from his dream, he did what the angel had commanded and took Mary home as his wife. Any worry Mary felt was set aside by God’s provision and grace. Protection had been provided.
Throughout Mary’s life, the hand of God was there to provide for her. The birth of her son occurred within walls and not in the great outdoors. A lowly manger was the Savior’s bed, but it was God’s provision and sufficient for Mary’s needs.
Shortly after the wise men had left their gifts with the newborn Savior, a new crisis erupted for Mary and Joseph. Herod had heard about the birth of a new ruler for Israel. He sent out an order to kill all the boys in Bethlehem two years old and younger.
Matthew 2:13 continues the story by saying, “When they (Magi) had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”
“So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod.”
Mary had to set aside her worry and trust that God would protect the Son He had given her through the Holy Spirit. Since the message to leave Bethlehem had come to Joseph, Mary also had to trust that God was leading in her life through her husband.
Mary found favor in God’s eyes through her quiet faithfulness. She did not go unnoticed. Her obedience in submitting to God’s eternal plan could have led her to many anxious nights. Instead, Mary exercised her trust in His goodness and provision. She threw her cares back up to her heavenly Father, and depended on Him to protect her and lead her throughout life.
If God is for you, who can be against you? (Romans 8:31) If you submit to His will for your life, He will be faithful to complete the work that He has begun in you. Mary’s purpose was to give birth and raise the Son of man. She did not let worry interfere with that purpose. She did not let the fear of man or circumstance rob her of the honor God had offered.
Remember Mary and all she had to face the next time worry tries to visit your doorstep. Consider her act of faith and submit to the trial before you, knowing that God will take care of any problem that challenges you. He is looking for the faithful to cast their cares upon Him. His shoulders are just about as big as his arm span, and they are as far as the east is from the west.
“I sought the Lord, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4 (NIV)
“The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.’” Luke 1:28 (NIV)
The description of ‘highly favored’ comes from a single Greek word, which essentially means ”much grace.”
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