(originally published November 11, 2009)
Remember the song, "I Never Promised You A Rose Garden"? Ouch 1973.
As I have studied and prayed over this passage in Luke 1 concerning the angel's announcement to Mary of her favor with God, and then the plan that is put before her, I get the feeling poor little Mary must have been one frightened little gal. The angel made a point to say "Fear not" to her. If I was met with a large spiritual being while I was making my bed, or doing the dishes, I would have to say that I definitely would be a little surprised and a lot nervous. But more than just for the momentary excitement, I think the angel needed to let Mary know that what he was about to say to her, could cause her fear.
God had a plan. This was His Big Plan, and He needed someone that trusted Him, loved Him, and revered Him. God needed someone who was willing to lay down their own plan, and pick up the plan that God was laying before them. Mary was just a young teenager, 13 or 14, I have heard. She had met and was engaged to a young man named Joseph. They had a plan. They were going to get married and live happily ever after.
Most young women have a plan similar to that. I know I did. Whether it's a career, or a marriage, or travel (or all of it) we all have dreams and aspirations, that's just part of our human nature...and it's good that we have that. Plans and dreams motivate us. Our plans and dreams may have slight variations, but most include a love story, a family, and a white picket fence. Youth sees things through those rose colored glasses that maturity often requires us to remove.
30. And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. 31. "And behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. 32. "He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; 33. and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end." 34. And Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?"
37. "For nothing will be impossible with God." 38. And Mary said, "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.
Now, back to The Plan. When we become a Christian, we not only ask Jesus into our hearts, spiritually, but in turn we should be willing to hand over our hearts to Jesus. I have said before that when I became a Christian I made Jesus my "Lord and Savior", but it took a long time for me to allow Him to become "Lord of my Life".
Read it again please, not just Saviour but The One Who is in Charge.
So here is Mary with her own plan, and now she has to be willing to say "I am the Lord's servant. May it be to me as you have said."
My life didn't change a lot until I finally got to the place where I said, "Lord, I am willing to put aside what I think and want, and let You show me what You want." That was not an easy time for me. It was a process of letting go of some things. It wasn't a rose garden, but if we do use the analogy, then there were some mighty big thorns and a lot of manure that I had to be forced to deal with.
Mary "signed on" as I said before. She agreed with God for His plan. Now, I'm not spouting doom and gloom here. God has good plans for us.
11. 'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. 12. 'Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13. 'And you will seek Me and find [Me], when you search for Me with all your heart. 14. 'And I will be found by you,' declares the LORD, 'and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,' declares the LORD, 'and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.'
He has good plans, they may just not always be easy. Remember when James and John's mother came to Jesus. She asked what she thought would be a good question. She asked Jesus if her two son's could sit with Jesus in Heaven. She really didn't know what she was asking.
20. Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Him with her sons, bowing down, and making a request of Him. 21. And He said to her, "What do you wish?" She said to Him, "Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right and one on Your left." 22. But Jesus answered and said, "You do not know what you are asking for. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?" They said to Him, "We are able." 23. He said to them, "My cup you shall drink; but to sit on My right and on [My] left, this is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by My Father." 24. And hearing [this], the ten became indignant with the two brothers. 25. But Jesus called them to Himself, and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and [their] great men exercise authority over them. 26. "It is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, 27. and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; 28. just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."
Mary signed on to become a "servant", a bondslave of the Lord, she was "indebted" to Him. So, even though we may have to lay down our own plan for our life, wouldn't you rather be doing what God has planned for you? I know I would. I'm shortsighted and don't know what's best. I've gotten my own self in lots of ditches over the years. I have found that God has good plans. They may not always be easy, but they are best, and His best for me (and you).
1. I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, [which is] your spiritual service of worship. 2. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
I would love to hear from you all. What has God asked you to lay down for His plan for your life? How has He taken "your plan" and given it an "overhaul"? I know you all are out there, I'm asking you just to leave a short (or long) comment on these posts, if you feel God nudging you. Let's hear what each other has to share. :)
Be Blessed, Everyone.