God is a God of interruptions and callings. What happens when God interrupts your life? If He is calling you to something unusual how do you know if it is His will? Should His will be easy or difficult.
Mary’s greater calling
A Jewish teenage girl, Mary was planning on marriage to a Jewish man. It was her calling in life. It was what every Jewish girl her age did. She even had a fiancé, Joseph. Her life was going well until God interrupted her one day to tell her He had an even greater calling on her life.
Imagine her fear and astonishment at seeing an angel. Imagine her total amazement at the ridiculous things the angel told her. He said she was going to have a child who would be the son of God. She knew it was impossible for her to be pregnant. She had never been with a man and wouldn’t be until she was married. So this thing the angel was telling her was unbelievable.
The angel, though, continued to explain how this would be possible by God placing the seed in her womb. I believe at this point, Mary was pretty blown away. I also believe she could have rejected this new calling on her life. She could have said, “No way, God. Choose someone else. This is too hard.”
She could have missed being a woman revered for centuries, the vessel through which the son of God makes entry into the world. Instead, though, she accepted the calling. She said, “Behold the handmaiden of the Lord. Let it be to me according to your word.”
Difficulties of the calling
This was the bells and whistles part of the story, bright lights, angels blazing. What comes next is the hard part. The part where Mary is alone and broken in front of her family and community.
Think about her upbringing as a good Jewish girl, upstanding, rule-abiding. All of a sudden she becomes pregnant before she is married. She had to tell her parents, her family, her friends, her fiancé.
She had to carry the baby nine months, like any other pregnant woman. She had to walk past those in her community enduring whispers and snickers and finger-pointings. Her friends’ parents didn’t want them to hang out with her. She was a tainted woman, alone in her journey.
Even Joseph wasn’t sure if he should believe her. Really, who would believe her? And after God told Joseph, who would believe Mary and Joseph? There had to have been sleepless nights, rejection, second guessing, wondering if she could complete the task of raising the son of God.
Before Mary delivered God’s own son and before Joseph held Him in his arms, they both had to be broken of any bit of pride or pretense. They had to totally and completely trust in an Almighty God who was now with them, present in a new way in their everyday walking and talking life.
The Bible doesn’t tell us about the difficulties Mary and Joseph encountered. Surely, their families eventually accepted and supported them, after they were married. But that first nine months had to be difficult, nearly impossible for two young people just starting out on life’s journey, not even having left their parents’ homes yet.
Difficulties of Jesus’ calling
The scriptures do relate one incident of difficulty early in Jesus’ ministry when He was teaching in the synagogue in His hometown. The people got angry because He told them He was the son of God.
They threw Him out of town. Why? Because they said, “Is this not Joseph’s son…” My aside, the one that’s not in the scripture, includes “…the one Mary got pregnant with before they were married? The son of God would not be part of anything permiscuous. This couldn’t be the Messiah. That’s not the way He will come.”
Of course all of the anger and rejection Jesus experienced throughout His life did not deter Him from His ultimate goal. He knew He was put here on earth to die. He knew it was God’s will but even He prayed for God to take it away. But he added the clincher, “Even so, not My will but, Your will be done.”
Perhaps one thing Jesus learned from His parents’ teaching was not to care what others say, only care what God says, only care about His calling, His urgings that propel toward His outcomes whatever they might be even if we can’t and don’t understand.
Mary caught a glimpse of her purpose. Why wouldn’t she believe an angel? She had been taught the scriptures from birth. She knew the son of God would be born of a virgin. She accepted it was her time. It was her calling. But I don’t for one minute think she was so naive as to think it would be easy. Still, she surrendered with rejoicing.
“My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit has rejoiced in God my savior…for He who is mighty has done great things for me, and Holy is His name” (Luke 1:46, 47, 49). I think she finally got it.
Whenever God interrupts our carefully laid-out plans, it’s a pretty sure bet He has a greater purpose in mind. It may be difficult but, it will be the best course of action.
Whatever He calls us to do today and wherever He calls us to go will be the safest place in the world. Our job is to surrender to His will even if we are ridiculed, laughed at, misunderstood, betrayed by our closest friends or die in the midst of our calling. Death is not the finality of who we are. Our souls live on for eternity. This time here is just a flash in the chronicles of time.
I have to admit, sadly, that there are times I don’t get it, though. There are times that even though I know the gifts, abilities and talents God has given me, I don’t want to do that thing He is calling me to do. Sometimes, it just seems easier to watch television, browse the internet or go shopping.
However, I don’t think God called us to have things easy all the time. He says His yoke is easy and His burden is light but, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t come without some difficulties. When it’s difficult, we know we’re on to something. Maybe we are on the right track.
2013 Action Plans
At the end of 2012, I’ve been contemplating goals, action plans, next steps for 2013. I can choose some easy, doable things or I can stretch myself. The jury is still out. The goals haven’t been written in stone but, I’m leaning in towards what seems like the hard stuff. It’s not easy but, I know it is my calling.
Yes, I’d like easy but, that’s not always possible or even feasible or even what brings me the most pleasure. Because at the end of the goal, I’d like to know that I’ve done what I’ve been called to do. Even if that is difficult. Even if that is impossible. Because if it’s impossible that means I did it with God’s help and I’m right where I need to be.
What do you think? Is what God asks of us, hard or difficult? Should it be one or the other? I value your opinion. Leave me a comment below.