(Part 2 of 4)
Wikipedia lists more than 150 types of fear one can experience. It’s interesting that when God spoke to someone in the Bible, he inevitably began with, “Don’t be afraid!” God knows we are afraid. It’s true this year with all the uncertainty in our culture and with COVID, all of us need to hear God say, “Do not be afraid.”
The good news of Christmas is that we don’t have to live in fear. We know that from the example of Mary.
“But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus… For nothing is impossible with God.” Luke 1:30-31, 37 (NIV)
Why didn’t Mary have to be afraid? Notice what the angel said, “For nothing is impossible with God.” Theologians call this the “omnipotence of God.” It means that God is able to do all that He wills.
Often in our fear, we forget the power of God in our lives. Paul wrote, “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know… his incomparably great power for us who believe” Ephesians 1:18 (NIV). Here are two important observations we can learn from Mary.
- God is able to work in us! Just like Mary, God has a plan for each of us. Most scholars believe that she was very young, possibly 12-14 years old. She lived a simple life with no formal education. Yet God put his divine hand on her life. He said that she was going to have a baby and that baby would be God in the flesh. Impossible? Mary knew God was able.
Here’s a fact: God never asks us to do something without also giving us the power to do it! The Bible says, “For God is at work within you, giving you the will and the power to achieve His purpose (Philippians 2:13 Philips).
- God is able to sustain us! COVID has caught all of us off-guard. If you are like me, you feel tired and even trapped. God has the power to keep us going, even when we feel like giving up. The Psalmist cried out, “My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever (Psalm 73:26 NLT).
Mary had reason to be fearful. She was “pledged to be married” to Joseph…betrothed (in the King James). The traditional Jewish one-year waiting period had already begun. This engagement would last one year and was as binding as marriage itself…in fact, it required a divorce to free one from this pledge. In the midst of this season, she learns of God’s plan for her pregnancy, and her future quickly moved from a solid plan to shifting uncertainty! Remember that old saying? I don’t know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future. It’s true! In the face of breathtaking uncertainty, Mary demonstrates confidence in the unchanging faithfulness of God.
Mary believed God was able. Without hesitation, she responded to God’s call with these words, “may it be with me according to your word” (Luke 1:38 NKJV).
BEFORE YOU GO
What are your fears? The good news of Christmas is that we don’t have to live in fear because God is able! Remember that whatever we are fearing, we can trust God more!