Blessed Is She Who Has Believed

 

By Cailey Morgan

Advent reflection started early for me this year.

My husband and I had escaped for a couple days away in early November. I was sitting alone in the Selman Cottage on Keats Island, sipping tea while Kyson was out taking pictures of the fall scenery. I had determined I would read through the whole book of Luke to get a refresher on the ways and work and words of Jesus in the midst of a season in which I was using Jesus’ words to conveniently give permission for my own hurried ways and self-reliant work.

I sat on that futon for two hours, but never got past Luke 1. My realignment to a truer understanding of the person of Christ and to the life He offers came from the part of the story where He wasn’t even born into humanity yet, through the joyful cry of an impossibly-pregnant octogenarian to her equally-impossibly-pregnant teenaged cousin:

Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said will be accomplished.

That one line gripped me. I couldn’t keep reading until I had wrestled through the questions of whether I could be that kind of woman. And frankly, two months later I’m still stuck, here on verse 45. Do I believe? Do I hear the Lord’s words? Do I look for the accomplishment of His works in this world?

cristian-newman-63291

Do I believe that God performed those incredible, intimate supernatural actions in Elizabeth and Mary’s bodies? That maybe the Holy Spirit knows my limitations and might even be willing to touch me personally to overcome them as I open myself to being His servant? More than that, do I believe and live into the blessing of the empire-shaking, darkness-shattering Gospel Kingdom that those two miracle baby boys inaugurated?

At the risk of reducing one of the most epic moments of history into a object lesson, I want you to consider this question with me: “What has the Lord said will be accomplished, that I need to believe will be accomplished?”

For me, the answer came quickly. I’m a bit loath to tell you, because this blog is meant to inspire us to pray, equip leaders, and share Jesus. What gives me the right to write about these things if my own witness is impotent and life in the Spirit is in infancy? But I hope that sharing some of my struggles and conversations with God will encourage you in your journey and invite you to share how you’ve been growing as well.

What has the Lord said will be accomplished, that I need to believe will be accomplished? Jesus said this: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:9).

But I don’t believe it yet. I love Jesus, and I love my neighbours. I long for my community to be transformed by the hope of Christ. But I don’t really believe that I’m a Spirit-filled witness.

I don’t.

If I did, I would act like a Spirit-filled witness!

I’m like Mary or Elizabeth before the angel showed up–in a place where new birth is just not on the radar as something that would or could really take place. My limitations make spiritual pregnancy and birth (aka disciple-making) a nice–but practically impossible–thought.

But then, what happened to these women? I’m sure neither Elizabeth nor Mary could even imagine the prophecies before they were spoken:

“You will give birth to a Son, and you will call His name Jesus,” says the angel to Mary (verse 31).

“How will this be, for I am a virgin?” responds Mary (verse 34). She’s asking a legitimate question. “I am physically not able to complete your request! Wrong stage of life! No experience! So, how will you make this happen Lord? What do I do now?”

How does the angel respond? “You’re right. You can’t do it alone. But the Holy Spirit will come on you and take care of all the tricky business. You will become who He’s asking you to be, for His glory, through His power” (verse 35, my paraphrase).

Sounds a lot like Acts 1:9! And how about Elizabeth?

“Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God” (verse 36).

Elizabeth prayed and waited for a child for decades. But as time marched on, she probably looked at Zechariah and said, “Honey, this isn’t going to happen. We missed our window. ”

There are two women who I’ve been praying for, for over half of my life. One I haven’t seen in 10 years; the other I run into maybe twice a year. When I made these friends as a teenager, my prayers were fervent and frequent: “Lord, draw her to Yourself. Lord, what do You want me to say? Lord, what do I need to do?” These days, when I don’t even see these people any more, it’s easy to skip praying, and just look in the mirror and say, “Honey, this ain’t gonna happen. We missed our window.”

I know that many of you have similar stories of faithful prayers that seem to go unheard. Maybe you don’t feel ready yet to have spiritual kids, or maybe you’ve been waiting for so long you don’t think God really wants to use you in that way. And I don’t really have a good answer to this, other than to look at what happened to Mary and Elizabeth, and ask the Lord for His Spirit to come in power and overcome our lack of patience, faith, and imagination, for nothing is impossible with God.

Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said will be accomplished.

I hope that Luke 1 becomes a year-round reflection for you, as it is becoming for me. Rather than a story to remind our children about the true meaning of Christmas, it’s a call to follow the great King whose Kingdom will never end (verse 32-33), and to open our eyes to the eternal Spirit-filled life that this King offers us, starting now!

Advertisements

Summer Video Series 5: Incarnational Evangelism

by Cailey Morgan

Shannon, Joell and I are thankful for so many resources that are available for us as we seek to evoke and resources CBWC churches and members towards our shared mission of making disciples who make disciples.

Forge America’s resources include several videos available online, one of which is Hugh Halter in our video for today, Incarnational Evangelism.

Incarnational Evangelism – Hugh Halter from Forge America on Vimeo.

Have you ever been in an uncomfortable or unsafe situation but knew that it was the place God wanted you to be to share His good news? Share your thoughts here or by emailing me: cmorgan@cbwc.ca