I wonder, has your life turned out like you thought it would? If you’re like most of us, your answer is probably “no.” Maybe it’s better than you imagined. Maybe it’s worse than you thought possible. Most likely it’s just different.
When I hit 40, I realized life wasn’t turning out like I thought it would. There would be no gaggle of laughing children filling my home, no crowded kitchen table at mealtimes, no juggling of kids’ busy schedules.
My first child would be my only child. And while I was so grateful to have this walking, talking, bundle of love, this wasn’t the way I had envisioned life unfolding. When the news came, I had a choice. I could get trapped in disappointment, or I could trust in God’s sovereign plan. I could get stuck crying “why me” or move forward with “what now.”
Mary, the mother of Jesus, had the same choice. Her life had not turned out like she thought it would. Before Gabriel spoke his prophetic words announcing the Holy Spirit would come upon her and that she would be the mother of the Messiah, she was well on her way to marrying the man of her dreams. I imagine she thought about setting up house, being a carpenter’s wife, and raising a quiver full of Joseph’s children. But Gabriel’s news changed everything.
With the words, “You will be with child by the Holy Spirit,” her life was turned upside down.
Mary knew there was a good chance she would be disgraced by her community, disowned by her parents, and disavowed by Joseph. We know from the other gospels that Joseph seriously considered divorcing her because he assumed that she had been unfaithful to him. (In those days, a couple was considered married during the engagement stage. The wedding made it official.)
And how did Mary react to this turn of events? She remembered God’s character and His ways. She remembered God as Israel’s helper…as her helper. She remembered God as faithful to keep His promises to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and now, to herself. As Joshua reminds us, “Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled,” (Joshua 21:45 NIV).
Why did Mary mention Abraham and his offspring in her prophetic prayer of praise? (Luke 1:46-56) Mary understood that her life was part of God’s unfolding story. Gabriel’s prophetic proclamation was not random, but part of the ongoing drama of God’s activity in the unfolding of His eternal plan past, present, and future.
And we can be sure of this: No matter what twists and turns our lives may take, our lives are part of God’s unfolding story as well. And for that, we can praise Him.
Mary’s prayer alludes to Old Testament Scripture, including Hannah’s prayer in 1 Samuel 2 with references to Psalm 103, 22, 44, 89, 98, 147, and 25. What a beautiful example of how Scripture embedded deep within our hearts will help us keep a Biblical perspective in the twists and turns of life:
- Her knowledge of Scripture helped her accept Gabriel’s message.
- Her understanding of Scripture gave her assurance of God’s promises.
- Her saturation in Scripture enabled her to have the faith to rejoice at God’s call on her life.
Like Mary, we can embrace the story we have been given, and trust God to keep writing our story into His.
Father God, I am amazed once again just how much Mary trusted Your plan for her life. “Let it be done to me as you have said,” are the words I want to say each and every time my life takes an unexpected turn. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
What is one situation which hasn’t turned out like you thought it would that you are willing to praise God for His sovereign and perfect plan? Leave a comment and let’s share to encourage one another.
We all have pages in our stories that we wish we could rip out and throw in the trash. Chapters of heartache from what has been done to us and what has been done through us. What if God doesn’t want to remove those stories, but repurpose them for good? If you’re ready to turn your worst chapters into your greatest victories, know this, God is ready too.
What has been done to you and what has been done through you does not disqualify you from God’s best for your life. It qualifies you for an even greater purpose than you would have ever known without it. In fact, the worst parts of your story might just be what God uses the most. So sink deep into God’s life-changing truths of When You Don’t Like Your Story: What if Your Worst Chapters Could Become Your Greatest Victories. The next chapter is just beginning.
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