Luke 1:38 reads, “‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered, ‘May it be to me as you have said.’ Then the angel left her.”
What impossibility are you facing today? The Christmas season can be joyful but it can also be stressful. The gifts, the parties, the demands, the absence of loved ones, the emotional turmoil of divided families can cause us to want to stay in bed and pull the covers over our heads. For some of us, every day of December is a challenge. How do we put one foot in front of the other? For many of us, December is overwhelmingly fun and exciting but meeting the time restraints of a busy schedule can tax our spirits. Which are you?
What impossibilities lurk in your future? By human nature we mistrust; we doubt; we insist on control; we rarely jump without a security net. In the Christian faith, we learn to pray, “Thy will be done.” But do we mean it?
Mary didn’t have “the rest of the story,” as the infamous Paul Harvey used to conclude his radio address. And neither do we. How can we learn to respond to God as Mary? How can we learn to say, “…as you have said.”?
Have you ever heard of The Spafford Children’s Center? It is an organization that cares for thousands of children in East Jerusalem and the West Bank by providing for medical needs, good nutrition, educational needs, and therapy. In an area of upheaval and conflict, help is given to anyone in need, regardless of race, religion or cultural background. The Center is unusual because its staff consists of different faiths working together for a common cause – “the benefit of deprived and sick children.” Founded by the daughter of Anna and Horatio Spafford and now run by their granddaughter, the Center thrives today because of a man’s reliance on God’s vision for his life.
Horatio Spafford is the author of the beautiful hymn It is Well with My Soul, written as he came upon the area in the Atlantic Ocean where his four daughters drowned on a ship traveling to Europe with their mom, Anna.
When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
He had lost his only son at the age of four, two years prior to his daughters’ deaths; the great Chicago Fire had destroyed him financially. He sent his family ahead of him by ship to Europe hoping to start their lives over. The ship sank, and his wife was the sole survivor. Her chilling words by telegraph to him read, “Saved alone…”
Afterwards, the Spafford’s had three more children. One died in infancy in 1881, a son. Horatio and Anna moved to Jerusalem with their daughters Bertha and Grace and founded an organization called the American Colony. The purpose was to help the poor. Today, The Spafford Children’s Center replaces the American Colony.
So what is my point? In the midst of tragedy, Horatio Spafford looked up to God and said, “It is well, it is well, with my soul.” Over 2000 years ago, Mary stood before the angel Gabriel and proclaimed to God, “May it be to me as you have said.”
How precious those words must be to God who wants an abundant life for us. All we must do is trust His plan. Make Mary’s prayer your daily stance with God. Proclaim to Him your reliance and joy in being His servant.
“…as you have said, Oh God, it is well, it is well, with my soul.”