“I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.” Psalm 77:11-12 (NIV)
It was 3 a.m. and I was wide awake. No, the trouble wasn’t my newborn; she was sleeping blissfully in her room. It was an old companion of mine — anxiety.
About a month earlier my husband and I had made some significant decisions with our work, decisions that we felt were clearly led by God and that, at the same time, we knew could result in us being asked to step down from our current roles and even relocating. For two weeks, we saw a possible path forward that would ensure our job security and we prayed persistently for God to make it happen.
Then we received word that the way was shut.
God, what now? Will we lose our jobs? What if we have to move? Why let us hope at all if You knew the answer would be no?
Did we hear from You right, Lord?
Sometimes I wonder if Mary the mother of Jesus had thoughts like these after saying "yes" to carrying the Son of God. It’s easy for me to read through Mary’s encounter with the angel Gabriel — who told her God had chosen her, a virgin, to give birth to Jesus — without a second thought. I know the rest of her story. I forget Mary didn’t know what was next when she said, “May your word to me be fulfilled” (Luke 1:38b, NIV).
What if Joseph, her fiance, would divorce her? Would Mary lose any hope of financial and social security in a husband?
What if Joseph would be dishonorable and accuse her of sexual sin she never committed? Who would believe her, and would she ever get married as a seemingly “shameful” woman?
Did she ever doubt along the way to the cross, when it seemed darkness would prevail as her son was crucified? Did Mary ever wonder, God, what now? Did I hear from You right, Lord?
Here’s what I think:
My baby is going through a wonderful (and stressful) season of stranger anxiety that involves screaming whenever someone unfamiliar holds her. This happened recently as her pediatrician examined her at a routine checkup. But then I reached for her hand and murmured words of comfort — and she stopped crying and bravely endured through the rest of her checkup, never taking her eyes off me.
In the few months she’s been alive, my baby girl has already experienced my faithfulness to respond to her needs, to comfort her when she cries and to protect her from harm. Even while being held by a stranger in a new environment, she could persevere because she knew her mama was with her and she is convinced her mama is good.
In the same way, I wonder if Mary was able to trust God because she could recall His faithfulness in her life. She said, “the Mighty One has done great things for me …” (Luke 1:49, NIV). Perhaps as a result of her experiences of His faithfulness, she knew God was with her and was convinced her God was good, and that gave her all the courage she needed to persevere in the midst of incredible uncertainty.
Throughout the Bible, God calls His people over and over again to remember His faithfulness in their lives. And it’s no wonder — because we are so prone to forget! I am so prone to forget.
But when uncertainty causes us to doubt, may we be women who pause to remember the goodness of God in our lives; who draw strength from His Word; and who remain steadfast in Immanuel, God with us, who always has been and always will be on our side.
Lord, help us to recall Your faithfulness in our lives that we may have the courage to persevere in the midst of uncertainty, with our eyes fixed on You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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FOR DEEPER STUDY
Luke 1:34-37, “‘How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’ The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God … For no word from God will ever fail.’” (NIV)
Where in your life are you experiencing uncertainty, and what is your response to this uncertainty (fear, faith, anxiety, trust, hope, etc.)?
What scriptures or experiences of God’s faithfulness can you call to mind to remind you of God’s presence and character in the midst of uncertainty?
We’d love to hear from you! Share your thoughts in the comments.
© 2022 by Alice Matagora. All rights reserved.
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