A few weeks ago I started reading the Gospel of Luke for my quiet time. During this time, I was praying about certain things and how I should go about handling them. My two choices were either: confront the situation and handle it myself, or leave things alone and completely surrender things to God. Usually when I’m left with these two choices, I tend to choose the first, since I like being in control of my situations. It was while I was in the middle of deciding between the two choices, that the verse from Luke 2:19, stuck out to me.
But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
I’ve read this verse a million times before, but it never stuck out to me until I read Luke for the millionth time. So the context of this verse goes like this: Mary had only just encountered the shepherds who came to worship her Son. She knew He was special but she didn’t go around telling the whole world who He was. She stayed quiet and kept “all these things… in her heart”.
Before I go on, I want to go over some things we may overlook about Mary. Mary was the mother of Jesus. That’s how everyone views her. It’s an obvious observation, but what we tend to forget is who she was before she became His mother. She was a young girl engaged to a man named Joseph. In the Bible the angel tells her she is “highly favored” by God. She was clearly a good and God-fearing young lady. She was so good in God’s eyes that He chose her to take care of His one and only Son. The only thing was, she wasn’t married and… she was pregnant. So how did people in her village/town/city view her? They probably thought she was a hypocrite. Her parents were probably baffled by the fact that she was pregnant when she had been such an obedient daughter and she was about to get married to someone. She may have ruined her reputation with her friends. They probably didn’t want to associate with a girl who made a “mistake” like that. Of course there were a few people who believed her and knew the truth, like her cousin Elizabeth, John the Baptist’s mother. But there had to be a few (or many) who did not believe that Mary was chosen to be the mother of God’s very own Son. How would it make sense that God’s Son would be born from some random young girl and would become a human and would be a baby? We even read in the gospel of Matthew that her fiancé, Joseph, was thinking about ending the engagement. His initial reaction must have been hurt and frustration. How could his fiancé do that to him? Of all the things she could do to hurt him, she was pregnant with someone else’s child.
If I were Mary, I would want to confront everyone and justify my situation. I would want to explain to the whole world that God chose me to do something great. I would want to talk about it. But Mary, even after the shepherds came and worshipped her Son, kept quiet and pondered these things in her heart. She knew who her Son was. She had complete faith in God. She could have asked the shepherds to explain to all the people who doubted her, who her Son really was, what had really happened to her, how they found out about everything, etc. But she kept quiet.
One of the hardest things to do during a trial or difficulty is to completely surrender our circumstances to God. Complete surrender means – we allow God to work. We don’t need to go around justifying ourselves and making others understand where we stand. We don’t need to figure out our future and try to make things happen the way we want them to. Complete surrender is to know the truth and to keep it close to your heart, without acting on anything. God takes care of things in His own way. Let God do the work. Mary had faith from the beginning. She knew what kind of task she was chosen to endure. She knew there would be many who did not understand, she knew she might lose her fiancé, she knew her reputation would be forever tarnished in the eyes of many she cared about. Knowing all this, she still accepted what God wanted for her life and praised Him. God worked out what needed to be done in the end. He spoke directly to Joseph and told him to take care of Mary. God allowed shepherds to know the truth and they spread the news to others. Mary’s role was to be the mother and to obey God. It wasn’t to keep Joseph with her, it wasn’t to make sure everyone knew the truth; God put others in charge of that.
In the end, our choices come down to two options: the first one being complete surrender of our situations to Christ or second, refusing to obey Him. It’s that simple. Obeying God may seem like an impossible thing to do when we start out following Him. And although it may have seemed like that for Mary, it was her faith in God’s plan that allowed Jesus to be brought into this world. Her faith allowed the Redeemer to be born. That’s how crucial her faith and obedience was. It affected the entire human race. Our faith is just as crucial. We have the ability to touch other lives. Growing our faith and walking daily with God comes by surrendering every decision to Him, starting right now.