I just read this awesome devotion, and had to share it...
And her neighbors and her relatives
heard that the Lord had displayed
His great mercy toward her;
and they were rejoicing with her.
And the angel said to her
“Do not be afraid, Mary;
for you have found favor with God.
“I’m going to have a son! And He is going to be great and will be called the Son of the Most High! That I should be chosen for this magnificent event! Me! Mary! Incredible!” Luke 1:32
So Mary had her Son. The miraculous was accomplished! If you are a mother you know what was in her heart from the very beginning because you’ve been there. You want to protect this tiny little being who has been such an intimate part of you, who has lived within you, encased in your body and completely dependent on you and your care for him for nine months. As that child grows, you want the very best in every way for him. Mary was a mother–just like you and just like me.
She lost Joseph somehow after Jesus was twelve years old. He disappears from their lives and from the pages that tell the story. This means that she didn’t have her husband by her side when Jesus told her that He was leaving home to begin His ministry. She needed someone to encourage her, to hold her, to face this heart-rending event with her, to assure her that it was going to be all right, to speak as a father to his son with words of wisdom.
She and her other children were terribly concerned about Jesus and the reputation He was making for Himself and the enemies–high-ranking religious officials who were seeking to destroy Him. Sit around the table with them as they spent hours trying to decide what they should do to help Jesus–to protect Him from those who hated Him. They pled with Jesus to come home so they could “take care of Him” thinking that He had lost His mind with the fervor and zeal of His fanatical teaching.
She heard all of the rumors–good and bad–about Jesus and there was someone who hurried to her house in the darkness the night Jesus was arrested–Oh, Mary! Mary! Jesus has been arrested! I’m sure she had friends that came to comfort her, but they had “come and gone” and she was alone at the foot of the cross that day when she witnessed the suffering of her “beloved Son.” She was there to see His mutilated body, the horror of His crucifixion, and to hear His agonized cries.
Surely the prophecy of Simeon came to pass: “and a sword will pierce even your own soul” (Luke 1:35).
This is favor?
Even though Zacharias had been struck dumb by the angel (Luke 1:5-20), I’m confident that he communicated with Elizabeth some way! We’re going to have a son! An angel appeared to me in the temple and told me! We’re to name him John and he will be great in the sight of the Lord! They had prayed for a child for many years and the Lord had heard their prayers. Now “the fullness of time” had come and a precious little boy came to bring laughter and love to their home.
But then one day their boy left home. He left the room they had fixed just for him; he left his place at the table; he left broken hearts and dreams behind him and lived in the desert, dressed in camel’s hides, eating locusts and wild honey. Elizabeth and Zacharias anxiously asked every traveler if they had seen their son, John.
They shook their heads in amazement when they heard about John baptizing his cousin, Jesus, and the miraculous events that surrounded that baptism. Their amazement turned to agonizing fear when the word came that John had been imprisoned. Then came the day when someone tearfully sought them out to tell them, “Your son, John, was beheaded last night.” Crushed. Grieving as they remembered those days when he was a happy little boy living at home.
This was a blessing?
* * *
I must confess that I was perplexed when these words penetrated deep into my heart. Oh, I had read them many times, but how could these things have been a “blessing” or come into your life because you were “favored?”
I know the answer of course–God is omniscient–we aren’t. He sees beyond this earth and its perplexities and knows what is to come–when it is to come–and how it is to come. But when you put flesh and blood on the rows of black print on onion-skin paper and put yourself in the company of those who were favored and blessed, it becomes painfully real to you that He spells “favored” and “blessed” differently than we do! Remember the song, “This world is not my home, I’m just a’passin’ through?” And while I’m “passing through,” God may decide to “favor” me with a very special mission–perhaps a difficult mission, a sorrowful mission, a mission of suffering. Who am I to question the results that He knows are to come as this mission He assigned to me is completed?
What I MUST remember as these perplexing thoughts come is that He is with me, strengthening me, encouraging me, loving me, and living in and through me to complete the mission He has given me. Oh! I must remember this! I do not always know His plan, but I do know His heart and I set my mind on the Lord as I have come to know Him. He was assigned an impossible mission–agree? I thank You, dear Lord, for Mary–for Zacharias and Elizabeth–for Jesus and all of the multitude that have gone before, showing me that a mission that seems to be impossible can be conquered–but only through You.
-Anabel Gillham with Lifetime Guarantee Ministries