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January 16, 2022 | Doug Sauder
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“Then Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I do not know a man?’ And the angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.’”—Luke 1:34-35 (NKJV)
“Don’t let them see you cry,” my professor stated sternly as he scribbled his signature on my student teaching form. My well-laid plans to work with a small middle school class had disintegrated due to a scheduling conflict. Instead, I’d stand in front of a large class of rambunctious twelfth graders. I felt like I’d just been asked to swallow an elephant. Why did God allow me to be placed in a role that was beyond my capability?
This was the first of many “bigger than me” assignments. I quickly learned that God wasn’t really concerned with my capabilities. All He required was a willing vessel. His glory was best displayed in impossible situations.
When I read the gospel accounts of Gabriel appearing to Mary, I like to imagine how I would have responded. By all standards, this young virgin girl was an unlikely candidate to help save the world. I am not sure I would have been overjoyed to accept the role of “unmarried pregnant girl who will be shamed and possibility stoned by her community.” Instead of celebrating her betrothal surrounded by the affirmation of her family, Mary’s life became a complicated mess.
God’s ways are so often beyond our limited understanding. Mary moved forward in the direction God was leading with unquestioning surrender. Her acceptance of this painful assignment birthed hope for the entire world.
The Almighty loves to transform messes into miracles. This Christmas, rather than worry about circumstances that are out of our control, we can choose to trust that God is working in unexpected ways. We can purpose to worship and look forward with expectation.
Like Mary, your willingness to partner with God through the messy just might change the world.
DIG: Read Luke 1:46-55. How did Mary choose worship over worry?
DISCOVER: Look back over your life and make a list of all the messes that God has transformed into miracles.
DISPLAY: Share this devotional with a friend and chat about how God often displays His glory through messy situations.