S (Scripture): Luke 1:30 So the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God! 31 Listen: You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David. 33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom will never end.” 34 Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I have not had sexual relations with a man?” 35 The angel replied, “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 the Son of God.
36 “And look, your relative Elizabeth has also become pregnant with a son in her old age – although she was called barren, she is now in her sixth month! 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 So Mary said, “Yes, I am a servant of the Lord; let this happen to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
O (Observation): All of this interaction comes down to one line: “For nothing will be impossible with God.” Mary takes this statement and internalizes it. What comes from her mouth, then, is a full submission to God and a declaration of faith, unparalleled to this day: “Let this happen to me according to your word.”
A (Application): Words of submission. Not something that people take lightly these days. No one wants to submit to their opponent. Just ask the presidential primary candidates who have given way to Trump and Clinton.
Of course, to whom you submit and for what reasons…that matters : )
In this case, God is calling on Mary to submit to being the one to help bring God to earth, in the form of the child Jesus. We pray, at least every week, if not also daily at home, that “Thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven.” We pray for our submission to God. We pray God’s will be done. Sometimes that means some heavy stuff for us here on earth.
Sometimes submission looks like giving to God through a church mission or building program. Sometimes it means buying a homeless person a meal. Sometimes is means stopping the petty disagreements with your neighbor, or turning the other cheek.
I can’t tell you how many conversations I have had with family, friends, congregational members that make me frustrated. Why? Because I want MY will to be done. Letting go of my will is terribly difficult. But practice helps. When I start to get that urge to feel frustrated…I have a choice…discern if that feeling is my will or God’s will. That is a moment of suffering, of inner turmoil. In these moments, I do my best to submit to God’s grace, so that whether I am silent or if I speak, I pray that God’s will be done. For…there are times when silence on my part may very well be God’s will : )
Submission to God’s will is not weakness…it is faith. We discern God’s will the best we can, and move forward in hope. Typically, that will mean that you are in the minority position. That will take suffering. But we know that “suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us” (Romans 5:3-5)
P (Prayer): Lord, help me to put my trust in you, again. Amen.