I am continually amazed by how terrifying life feels. It never seems like there is a clear direction, and as much as I would love for someone to show up and tell me what I need to do, this has never seemed to be the case. Maybe it would be to bizarre for me to understand the plan, or maybe my current way of thinking hasn’t gone through the growth it needs to experience the plans of the future. Last week I talked about the reflection and growth that comes with the new seasons, looking back at the blessings of what brought you here. The thing is, it brings us to now, and what do I do now?
This is the place where a lot of my anxiety stems from, I know God has delivered me from my past, but how can I remain confident in uncertainty? In just a few short days, we will celebrate Christmas. This year has been filled with much uncertainty, and in this Christmas season, I was thinking about the birth of Christ. Luke 2 tells the story of how it happens, and it is such a powerful picture of grace. Something stuck out to me, Mary. In the chapter she is already prepared to give birth, but in the chapter previous, she deals with uncertainty. An angel comes to Mary, a virgin, telling her that she will give birth without having sex, and this baby would also be the savior for all.
A few things there, angels don’t just appear to me frequently, that must have been a frightening moment. The second piece is that she was a virgin, and in Jewish culture, it was shameful to be with child out of marriage, the cultural hurt she would go through would be enormous. Lastly, this would be the son of God, prophesied for ages, after a period where the people though God was no longer there. A lot of uncertainty, yet Mary’s response? Trust in this blessing of uncertainty.
We have been made with purpose.
I believe the biggest encouragement from not only the moment where Mary says, “I am the Lord’s servant,” but what that means in the context of the bible in general. Over and over there are stories of seemingly ordinary people, and God calls the greatness out of them. God from the very beginning designed us in his image, and he did this because we have a purpose. Maybe you feel like you don’t fit, but I promise you, you have a place in God’s story. For years I tried fitting into a certain box. A box I thought was who a pastor was supposed to be, I changed who I had been made to be and it never clicked. What I found is that I am not called to fit into someone else’s box, I am called to step into who God has made me to be. The same is true for you, you have been made with a unique purpose, so step into that in the midst of uncertainty.
Choose praise in adversity.
After Mary shows an incredible amount of trust, she visits her relative Elizabeth, who was also told she would give birth after being seemingly barren. The baby in the womb of Elizabeth leaps for joy when Mary enters, and Mary is overwhelmed with the truth. See, sometimes we can trust God even when we may not feel like it, but God always shows his love by encouraging us. Mary then chooses to praise God, for both what he has done with Elizabeth and what he will do through her. In the midst of uncertainty, she has peace. She then praises in the face of the adversity she knows will come.
In my own life there have been moments where I just felt so angry, yet when I choose to praise God in spite of my hurt, my heart is always filled with peace. I’m by no means perfect, but this is the response I want to strive for in the midst of all uncertainty.
I strive to have the mindset of Mary. In one of the most terrifying uncertainties she faces, she chooses to know her purpose and praises in the face of adversity. This new year will be filled with more trials and more unknowns, it’s just the way life goes. We aren’t always able to control what happens, but we can always control our reaction to it. You can choose to remember who you are and who God has made you to be. You can choose to praise in the face of adversity, despite what your feelings may want to do. When you choose to trust God in all things, peace comes over you. That doesn’t mean all the issues will go away, but it does mean that by choosing to trust, you can live with the peace that God is doing a work in you.
As we celebrate Christmas, be reminded of the faith that Mary had in the uncertainty and the blessing of peace that filled her heart. No matter what may come, peace can come as the blessing of the uncertainty life brings.
About the Author: Joshua Thomas is a writer by day and superhero by night. When he’s not writing and crimefighting, you can find him reading a good book, sipping warm tea, taking pictures, or dreaming. The young writer doesn’t fully know what he’s doing, but is enjoying the journey of it all. You can follow his hipster photos and Jack Kerouac musings on Instagram @joshua_thomas__