LUKE 1:46-55 (NIV)
Mary’s Song (The Magnificat)
46 And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, 49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name. 50 His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. 51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. 52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. 53 He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. 54 He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful 55 to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”
Mary was given what would certainly appear to be an impossible mission from God, giving birth to “The Son of the Most High.” In the verses preceding the above passage, she did express some questions about how this could possibly be since she was a virgin, but she trusted God that His words would be fulfilled. God loved Mary. Mary knew it. Becoming a pregnant, unmarried young woman would not go well for her in her society, but she knew God’s love for her would be bigger than what she might face.
In our own lives, there are often times we feel like we have been given a difficult task (our impossible mission). Look, God, I’ve added up my bills, and I’ve added up my income, and unfortunately the bills win. A $600 dollar COVID relief check will only go so far. Maybe your own impossible mission comes in the form of a relationship problem, physical ailments, financial difficulties or a seemingly unending spiritual battle. God certainly answers prayer, and we should seek Him in all things, but the reality is He doesn’t always immediately take away the source of our struggles. He doesn’t always answer prayer the way we want. He does love us, right? Mary said, “His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation" (vs. 50). That means us. He doesn’t always take away the problem, but He makes a way. We need to do our part and have appropriate fear of the Lord (vs.50) and humility (vs.52), and trust the God who loves us to do His part and be merciful (vs. 50) and lift us up (vs. 52).
In all God’s love towards us, He knew He didn’t make us with the capacity to make it on our own. Certainly, we can’t be saved on our own, and we aren’t an island that can withstand the storms of life on our own. But in His love, He made a way through Jesus Christ. We get to be saved through Him for eternity because God brought Him into the world through a humble virgin. And we aren’t alone through our earthly trials. Sometimes He answers prayers just like we want and solves our problem quickly. Sometimes, He provides the wisdom, resources or answers that help resolve our issue down the road. And, sometimes, even though the answer we want doesn’t seem to be coming on our schedule, He can provide the comfort, wisdom, patience, and assurance that His will will be done in our lives.
I thank God for the Word that showed me how Mary trusted Him when it seemed impossible. I thank God loves me, that He knows what is best for me in my earthly life—the short life—and that He gives me strength to make it through whatever life may bring. As Christmas approaches, I thank God for showing His love by providing the gift of Christ, the gift of salvation through Him. I thank Him that when this short life is finished, I get to spend eternity in heaven.
by Chet Gilmore
photo: The Magnificat in many languages at the Church of Visitation in Israel