Thursday, December 19, 2013

Less Zechariah, More Mary

Day 19

"But now you will be speechless and unable to talk
until the day these things take place,
because you did not believe my words,
which will be fulfilled at their proper time.”
(Luke 1:20)

Why is it that Mary questioned Gabriel on how the Lord was going to fulfill His plan and was not chastised but yet Zechariah was?  Really, Mary's "How shall this be since I have no husband?"  sounds remarkably like Zechariah's question in today's reading, "How shall I know this for I am an old man and my wife is advanced in years?"  It's easy to feel sort of bad for the guy, right?  What is so different about their two replies?  

I think, perhaps, the answer lies in their faith.  Zechariah, understandably skeptical after years of disappointment, asks for a sign, "How shall I know this?"  Gabriel seems to know that he doesn't really believe his words.  Mary's question rather simply seeks understanding and later Elizabeth exclaims "blessed is she who believed".  Mary asks how it will occur.  She does not doubt that it can happen, but only wants to know a bit more about the details, what she will have to do to make this come about.  Mary is so open to the Lord's plan that even something as impossible as a baby being conceived in her, is nothing for the Lord of the universe.  (Interesting is that Mary's question also implies her perpetual virginity.  After all, she was betrothed to Joseph.  She was a virgin but she was about to be married!  Her question wouldn't make much sense if she was expecting to have normal marital relations very soon anyway.)

Mary is open.  Zechariah guarded.  Mary invites hope.  Zechariah eyes it suspiciously.  Mary focuses on the plan but Zechariah on whether or not the One who gives it is worthy of trust.  

How open am I to the Lord's plan in my life?  Do I doubt that he will redeem me from my sins?  Do I doubt that He will heal my brokenness and wounds?  Have I allowed years of disappointment to feed skepticism and cynicism? How do I know this is true, Lord?  Will You really do what You say?  When will I really FEEL healed?  There's no way this situation can change.  I'm tired of hoping, Lord.  I'm tired of being disappointed.  Prove to me that You will do it.  Prove that you are worthy of my trust. 
How shall I know this? 

Instead, can I be Mary?  Can I let go of the cynicism and the doubt and believe?  Can I be open and trust that He will be faithful?

Lord, how WILL you do this?  What do I need to do?  What do you want of me?  How am I to be a part of Your plan?  Lord, I don't need to know all the details but just let me know my part to play.  Put me at the service of Your will.
How shall this be?  

He is faithful.  He is worthy of trust.  What He says, He will do, not on my schedule but on His.  His plans are for my good and with all my heart I want to follow them no matter where they lead.  Today, I will believe that.  

Lord, less of my plans and more of Yours.  Let it be done unto me according to Your word.






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