In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. 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.” And Mary said to the angel, “How shall this be, since I have no husband?” nd the 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 called holy, the Son of God. And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. (Luke 1: 26-38)
Mary’s prompt response of “yes” to the divine message in today’s scripture is a model of faith for all believers. Mary believed God’s promises even when they seemed impossible. She was full of grace because she trusted that what God said was true and would be fulfilled. She was willing and eager to do God’s will, even if it seemed difficult or costly.
This is Mary’s greatest moment. For in this moment, Mary utters the greatest prayer ever offered. Her prayer is “Let it be.” “Let it be done to me according to your word.” In this moment, Mary reveals herself as the first and greatest disciple and provides a model that all subsequent disciples must follow.
Mary’s prayer tells us that the foundation of the Christian life is accepting the will of God. She is our model because to believe we too must surrender to God’s purposes.
Now following the example of Mary is not easy, because all of us want to be in control. We want to call our own shots in life. We want to determine how to move from A to B. With the best of reasons, we want to bring about good things for ourselves and for those that we love. Therefore, when things happen that we cannot control, when hurts occur that we cannot heal, when troubles come that we cannot escape, our life is thrown into turmoil and confusion. We lose sleep; our stomach churns; we beat our head against the wall. All because we cannot determine what we should do.
Mary tells us that what we should do is surrender, surrender to God. To follow Jesus, we must accept those things in life that we cannot control or change.
Surrender is truly the foundation of the Christian life. Yet it is important to understand that surrender is not neglect. Surrender is not “letting God do it” and avoiding our own responsibilities. For whenever in life a clear path is shown to something that is good, we are obliged to follow it. Whenever there is an opportunity for reconciliation, healing, growth, or understanding, we know that it is God’s will for us to act. We must take responsibility and do what is right. But we also know how often things are not clear, that there is no viable option to take, that there nothing we are able to do. It is in those moments that we must surrender.
Surrender is not neglect, nor is it giving up. Surrender is not throwing in the towel in a desperate act of frustration. Surrender is not giving up, it is handing over, handing over to God.
As believers, we understand that there are things that we cannot do, but God can. There are things we do not understand, but God does. There are many times where we are not in control, but God is. Believers hand over to God, what is impossible, what is unclear, what is painful, realizing that God will do what we cannot do. In the end, surrender is trust.
So, if there are troubles and divisions in your family, which you cannot heal, surrender them to God who can. If there are people in your life, that you cannot change or protect from harm, entrust them to God who will not abandon them. If you wake up yet another morning, with a pain that you cannot relieve, hand it over to God who will carry that burden with you.
Prayer of The Day
“Heavenly Father, you offer us abundant grace, mercy, and forgiveness through your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. Help me to live a grace-filled life as Mary did by believing in your promises and by giving you my unqualified ‘yes’ to your will and plan for my life.”
God gives us grace and he expects us to respond with the same willingness, obedience, and heartfelt trust as Mary did. When God commands, he also gives the help, strength, and means to respond. We can either yield to his grace or resist and go our own way. Do you believe in God’s promises and do you yield to his grace?