“Good News of Great Joy,” Day 6: Graced by God

December 5, 2015

booklet_coverI recently created a 26-day Advent devotional booklet for my church called “Good News of Great Joy.” I will be posting a devotional from it each day between now and Christmas day. Enjoy!

Scripture: Luke 1:26-38

Gabriel tells Mary, “Rejoice, favored one! The Lord is with you.” The Greek word for “favored one” literally means graced one: “one who is filled with grace.” This reminds us that the only way that Mary can be successful in carrying out God’s plan for her life is through God’s grace.

So… If God gives us the grace we need to answer God’s call for our lives, does that mean that life will be easy? Not at all!

While it’s safe to say that Mary was graced by God as much or more than anyone else who ever lived, notice how profoundly difficult and costly this grace was: Among other things, it meant setting aside lifelong dreams and plans. It meant facing false rumors about conceiving a child out of wedlock. It meant risking execution for adultery—because adultery was a capital crime. It meant risking her own life simply by giving birth—which in this age before modern medicine was dangerous. It meant leaving home and fleeing with her family to Egypt to escape Herod’s murderous jealousy. It meant watching her own son suffer and die on a cross.

Truer words were never spoken than when the prophet Simeon tells Mary, shortly after Jesus’ birth, that “a sword will pierce your own soul, too.”

God may never ask us to set aside all of our hopes and dreams and plans for his sake. God may never ask us to leave the comfort and security of home for his sake. God may never ask us to risk our lives for his sake. But in many ways, God is asking of us the same thing he asked of Mary: to offer ourselves completely to God, to go where he says to go, to do what he says to do.

What is God asking of you? What is God calling you to do? Pray that when God calls, you will respond the way Mary did: “Here am I, servant of the Lord. Let it be with me according to your Word.”

2 Responses to ““Good News of Great Joy,” Day 6: Graced by God”

  1. Grant Essex Says:

    Great observations. Kind of like, “With friends like this who needs enemies?” I never really thought about how much God was asking Mary to trust Him. She and Joseph were faithful in ways I struggle to appreciate.

    As I look back over my life, some of my greatest blessings came out of circumstances I would preferred to avoid. I just couldn’t see that “hidden blessing” that God was sneaking in there.

    Trust and obey, for there’s no other way……….

    • brentwhite Says:

      “[S]ome of my greatest blessings came out of circumstances I would preferred to avoid.”

      That’s been my experience in spades. But not just mine: Honestly, I’ve talked to people who’ve been through the worst kinds of tragedies, and they say the same thing. The circumstances weren’t good, downright evil in some cases, but God has the power to transform and redeem. He does it all the time.

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