Surprised by Grace

Surprised by Grace December 20, 2023

 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.

He 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 father David,
and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever;
and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

I am amazed by the faith and obedience of Mary, who accepted this extraordinary and mysterious message with humility and trust. She said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word.” She did not question or doubt God’s plan, but surrendered herself completely to his will. She did not fear or hesitate, but welcomed his grace and favor. She did not seek her own glory, but magnified the Lord.

I sometimes wonder how God might move in my life and in my world if I was ready to say yes to him in moments like that. How many times have I missed his call or ignored his voice? How many times have I resisted his guidance or rejected his gifts? How many times have I preferred my own will or followed my own plans?

I don’t want to try to squeeze God into my life. I want to follow him each and every moment. I want to be the Lord’s servant before all else.

I am convicted that there are times when my hope is not that God would call me out to be a part of his plan, but instead that he would let me be to follow my own plans. I realize that this is a sign of pride and selfishness, and that it prevents me from experiencing the fullness of his love and joy.

I am praying that God would work in me a greater desire to be surprised by his opportunities to walk by his grace into his plans. I want to have a heart like Mary, who was open and attentive to his word, who was faithful and obedient to his will, who was humble and grateful for his mercy. I want to say with her, “Let it be done to me according to your word.”

God’s will first and all else in response to His call!

Lord, I thank you for the gift of the annunciation, and for the example of Mary. Help me to listen to your voice and to follow your will. Help me to trust in your power and to cooperate with your grace. Help me to say yes to you in every situation and circumstance. Amen.

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