Sunday, December 15, 2019

Confirmation and Encouragement

Confirmation and Encouragement
December 16, 2019
Luke 1:45  "And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord."

Mary, the mother of Jesus, was human, to be sure. She was chosen to birth the Christ child while yet a virgin. She was engaged to a man, not yet physically known to her and yet she was with child. An  angel appeared to her and told her about what would transpire for her. While she submitted to the angel's directions from the Lord, she was still human in having to deal with all that was in front of her. She had to go to her fiancee and tell her that she was now pregnant and that she would be bringing up the Christ child. She was likely nervous in that first, deep conversation with Joseph about her new-found pregnancy. And she had to not just tell him that she was pregnant, but that they were going to be the parents of the Savior. At this point in Mary's story, all she had to go on was a word from an angel. Joseph could have denied Mary's encounter with the angel, so far nothing was verifiable. Mary stepped out in faith, though, at the angel's original instructions, having to tell Joseph of her pregnancy and what Mary had agreed to do for the Lord.

Joseph was originally not on board with Mary's plan. He was willing to walk away respectfully, not calling Mary crazy in his disbelief. But an angel appeared to him as well, and gave him encouragement. Joseph heard from the Lord himself and went to Mary and confirmed the plan. Joseph was now on board and Mary had at least one person who believed in her. Shortly thereafter, Mary's relative, Elizabeth, who was carrying John the Baptist in her womb, met with Mary. Elizabeth heard Mary's story and she too agreed with her, having confirmation from the Lord.  Mary now had two people who verified her story independently, confirming what Mary took as a leap of faith in her journey.  Mary spent three months with Elizabeth, during her pregnancy, likely receiving encouragement from Elizabeth along this crazy new path.

Shortly after Jesus was born, May and Joseph presented Jesus at the temple.  There was a righteous man, Simeon, who had heard from the Lord, too, regarding the crazy plan. Mary and Joseph did not have to tell Simeon who Jesus was, he knew, he had already known. Mary now had another confirmation that she was on the right path.  Mary stepped out in faith, on nothing other than a personal encounter with the Lord. She had no written plan or desire to make this up. She was likely nervous and scared and maybe even questioned her own sanity at times. But the Lord provided confirmation and encouragement along the way. This confirmation and encouragement was likely needed to help Mary stay firm to the plan. It was not easy to step out in faith all by herself, but the Lord honored her for that and encouraged her that she was making the right decision in following the Lord's will.

The Lord's will for your life may not be easy to understand or even digest, but others have gone before you in stepping out in faith on that scary journey. It can be done, but the confirmation and encouragement may not come instantly. You still have to  step out in faith. Once you do, the confirmation and encouragement will come, but there is no script, no written plan for you to follow, only the Lord's leading. When you do have confirmation and encouragement along the way, it will help you to keep going, fuel you on when the going gets tough, when most still don't believe your story or in what you are doing. If you are awaiting confirmation before you step out in faith, then you really would not be stepping out in faith. If you are awaiting confirmation before you move, then you might spend the rest of your life paralyzed and missing God's amazing journey for your life.  Mary was blessed because she stepped out in faith, before others' confirmation or encouragement.
Don't take my word for it; look it up:  Luke 1:26-45, Luke 2:21-38