When you are given the biggest job of your life, how do you respond? I don’t know about you, but I need details and timeline. I immediately begin to plan my “how” so I will know whether to accept the assignment.
Look at Mary’s response to everything Gabriel said that would change her life and dreams. Mary had only one response that goes down for all time as the best way to answer God’s call, “I am the Lord’s servant.” (Luke 1:38) Do you hear what Mary knows in these five words? She knows who she is and she knows who God is. It is a bold and beautiful moment to witness.
The gift of true submission happens when everything we don’t know pales in light of what we do know about God. True submission wrests from our much too greedy hands and distressed heart anything that confuses or frightens us and replaces it with the empowering reminders of God’s faithfulness, His integrity, and His unfailing love. Then, the question of obedience is not whether we are able to do something, but whether we are willing to be enabled.
I have come to this passage over and over in my life with more weakness than strength. Mostly it involved some unknown about Lisa’s future or upcoming surgery. I can tell you that my fears about the unknowable could have swallowed me whole. It took a determined focus to come to God alone and say, “I am your servant.” If I learned anything it is that submission changes my questions. Submission readies me to hear what I need to hear to take the next step of obedience. Submission puts all control in the God of all control. In submission, I take a deep breath and say, “Okay, what’s next?” And God knows I am ready to do “next.”
Christmas gives you the biggest reason to reclaim the gifts that submission brings. It is your moment to rest from the pressure of needing to know what you cannot know, just like Mary. It is your opportunity to take that leap of faith straight into the knowable faithfulness of God. It is a time of true Emanuel for no one who says “yes” to God is ever alone.