Advent Devotional: Difficult Honor

And Mary said: ‘My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior for He has been mindful… the Mighty One has done great things for me’ (Luke 1:46 NIVUK).

I am challenged by Mary’s genuinely joyous, humble, response to the call that God entrusted to her. Who of us wouldn’t be joyous in being considered such a key player in His plans?

However, perhaps the joy Mary experienced was not so much in her honored position but in the proof of God’s faithfulness in the painful struggles that accompanied her call. The gospels don’t tell us whether Mary knew of Joseph’s plan to divorce her. Whether she knew in reality or by the fears that plagued her heart and mind, it’s inevitable that she felt the uncertainty that loomed. The reproof of her community and family was undoubtedly difficult. But she was given the added trial of having the one with whom she was most vulnerable, the godliest man she had probably ever known, question and threaten to abandon her in the calling she had obediently accepted from God.

The uncertainty of those days must have been deeply trying and dark for Mary. Her immediate circumstances would have made it easy for her to feel victimized, bitter, abandoned by God, angry, confused, distrusting, and fearful. However, her trust rested in God. God personalized His love toward Mary by faithfully redeeming the fragments of her life.

As Christians, we hope in the assurance of a heavenly reward. However, our fears, relationships, and wondering hope are also redeemed as we look to Him. Take heart! We, too, will one day say, “My spirit REJOICES, for…He has done great things!”

Miriam Powdrill is a 2004 graduate of Asbury College. She teaches English at the Sichuan University of Arts and Science in China.