LUKE 1:27-31; MATTHEW 1:19-20 (NLT) | “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her … “You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus; Joseph ... decided to break the engagement quietly. As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife...”
We don’t know a whole lot about Mary and Joseph before their lives were interrupted by an angelic appearance. Joseph was a carpenter from the lineage of King David. Mary was likely a teenager whose life largely revolved around preparing to be a wife and mother. What were they like as people? How well did they know each other? Was their marriage arranged?
What we do know is that God asked Mary and Joseph to make a significant choice that would forever change their lives—and ours. It’s easy to gloss over that moment of decision, but try to put yourself in their shoes. Feel the weightiness of God’s shocking interruption to their well-laid plans.
For Mary, being pregnant and unmarried could have meant the end of her relationships and her hopeful future. For Joseph, listening to God and choosing to stay with Mary meant the sacrifice of something very precious to him: his honor.
Can you feel the hush in Heaven as Mary and Joseph consider their options? Their surrender to God would mean the birth of a Savior, but would also have significant personal cost. There must have been something in those mysterious early years of their lives that prepared them to put everything in God’s hands and say “yes,” despite the pain and uncertainty that would come.
You see, God’s call to surrender has a counterpart—the call to trust. Before the angel called Mary and Joseph to surrender, he said, “Do not be afraid.” In other words, “It’s alright. You can trust God in this.”
Surrendering wouldn’t only come with a price tag. It would come with joy, and the incredible opportunity to live life with God. The reason Mary and Joseph could say yes to God was that they could trust Him.
In the end, God’s upside-down plan included restoration of all that seemed lost.
Because of his yes, Joseph gave up temporary honor in his community. But he is still honored by millions around the whole world for his choice.
Can you hear God’s affirming whisper in the moment of decision?
Do not be afraid, Joseph. I’ve got you.
With her yes, Mary laid down her security and future. But she received a son who even looked out for her well-being from the cross.
Do not fear, Mary. I’m keeping you safe.
Surrender and trust are the door to the things we most long for and need. This is the path to life with God, life in the Kingdom.
The same door that brought Jesus to earth is the door that brings us to God. Together, surrender and trust form a doorway where heaven and earth meet.
Are you ready for heaven to touch the earth of your life? Can you hear God’s whisper urging you to trust and surrender?
Do not fear, child. I’ve got this. Say yes to me.
QUESTIONS FOR APPLICATION
- What are the hardest things for you to entrust to God? Can you label the fears?
- If certain things feel hard to surrender, have you listened for God’s whisper of “Do not fear?” What else is he saying to you about that?
- In your own story, where has surrender of one thing brought life through something else?
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