Do It Afraid and Saying Yes ~ Rev. Br. Joshua Hatten, OPr
26In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” 29But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. 33He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 34Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” 35The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. 36And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. 37For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
As we read in Luke 1:38, Mary says “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” WOW! Now that has to be the most courageous act of faith I’ve ever read! I pray for the strength to act like Our Savior’s Mother, the strength to relinquish the wants of MY WILL and honestly and earnestly pray for “THY WILL BE DONE” – less and less of me, more and more of Our Father’s Will. To always do what is right and good and just and holy in His sight. But is it that easy?
Here, the Blessed Virgin is truly our example of unwavering faith which she shows by pressing through any fears, worries or anxieties she may have had. By giving her ‘YES’ to Our Father, by submitting to “let it be with me according to your word” – she shows us that no matter what we may be faced with or feeling, it is possible to have total faith in God to get us through even the most inexplicable situations. Just think of some of the trials awaiting Mary simply for submitting to God’s Will. It could cost her life, being pregnant and unmarried was punishable by death from stoning! She could have lost her fiancé, Joseph. She had no idea how he would react to this news! Can you imagine the looks from her own friends and family she might have received – not to mention the others in her town, from her synagogue, at the market? I have to believe that at some point these concerns and countless others had to have crossed the Blessed Mother’s mind. Still, she obeyed. She submitted. Even if she was terrified, she chose to carry the Son of God, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In Mary lies a profound secret of great faith that none of us should miss. DO IT AFRAID.
It is very easy for someone outside of our situations, various as they are, to tell us, when we are faced with real fears, worries and anxieties, to ‘give it to God’ or to ‘cast our cares on the Lord – and leave them there’ or to ‘fear not.’ But for the one actively facing those frightful feelings it often does not seem so simple. It is in these trials, that I meet Mary. Though the scriptures don’t tell us WHAT the Virgin Mother was feeling when she submitted to God and showed amazing faith, we can well imagine that she must have panicked at some point, or several points! But she said yes anyway. She did it afraid. Often times, we must do the same thing. We must endure our trial, shaking in our boots, but pressing inward and onward. Moving through our various situations scared, but faithfully, still pushing ahead.
May we be so bold in our faith in Our Lord, that our souls will also proclaim the greatness of Our God. When we accept God's word and when we obey his commands, we will realize great joy and an overwhelming peace becomes available to us – even if what we are faced with seems like it is just too much for us to handle. Our faith allows us to see that we are not alone, that we can get through all of the curve balls lugged at us, even if we’re terrified. It is written that God will never leave us nor forsake us, that He is with us always. Not occasionally, not ‘just through the easy and lovely and happy times.’ Always. And when we flex our muscles of faith, we’re giving our own fiat, our own ‘YES!’, which allows God to expand in us and use us - and give us the joy, peace, hope and love we need for ourselves and that we need to be a light to the world – to everyone we encounter.
The hope of the world rested on Mary’s ‘YES’ – and she obeyed and Jesus was born. In a similar way as Christians, the hope of our world rests today on us – will we be like her – will we give our ‘YES’ to God’s will in our lives, no matter how afraid we may be? Will we give birth to God in our thoughts, words and deeds? Will we obey the Lord and walk in His ways, no matter how frightening the circumstances are or could become? Or shall we choose our will to be done because it is easier and requires no courageous faith? The angel Gabriel tells us in verse 37 “For nothing is impossible with God.” So when we do not answer with a resounding ‘YES’ to allow God’s birth in our lives, we limit what we can ever have or ever do or ever become. We must meet the Lords knock on the doors of our hearts with a resounding invitation in – then the Holy Spirit can begin the produce the fruit of Christ-like living in our lives – to the point that the love, joy, peace, patience and prosperity flow out of us an onto each person that crosses our paths. But we must un-wrap these gifts of the Spirit so we may, first, use them in our lives and then pass them on and share them with our brothers and sisters. They cannot flow from us if they are not in us. And it all starts with our yes to God.