Whose opinions on your choices generally matter more to you? God’s? Or other people’s?
Now, this post isn’t intended to make anyone feel bad. In fact, it’s meant to serve as an encouragement. In us looking at the Word and studying those who have gone before us, we begin to recognise that we are certainly not the only ones who may have suffered paranoia at the hands of others.
Let us look at Mary. Pregnant Virgin Mary. Doesn’t sound like the type of scenario which would go unnoticed, does it? I’d imagine Mary, as excited as she was, was probably not quite as delighted at Caesar Augustus’ decision to have the whole world registered. Registering meant returning to your own town and so for Joseph and Ms Inconspicuous that meant a journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. By this point, Mary was very pregnant and this was no short journey. I can’t begin to imagine what she’d be going through physically, but I also wonder about what must have been going on emotionally.
Mary was unmarried and pregnant. What a platform for gossip. I bet some of the townspeople were having a field day with the rumours and I’m sure others were outraged that Joseph hadn’t opted to quietly call off the wedding as per his original plan. Add to this equation then, the fact that Mary was adamant she hadn’t been unfaithful and (with close relatives) was resolute that she was carrying the child of God. Yet, her portion was disgusted looks and whispers. All whilst hosting the Holy One. I’ve heard that being pregnant isn’t the easiest at the best of times. But being pregnant alongside facing everything that Mary faced? I’m sure many of us would hold our hands up and say that this was by no means a walk in the park.
So how did she do it? How did Mary hold onto her dignity, her dreams, her hope and her relationship? Mary held on to God with unwavering trust. Mary believed it would be according to God’s Word and Mary allowed what God had promised to overshadow what people were guessing. It must have been tempting for Mary to get angry with righteous indignation. She must have wanted to scream from the rooftops ‘you just wait, you just wait until you meet my Son’. But, as far as we know, Mary made no excuses. As far as we know Mary kept quiet and allowed her journey to have remarks of humiliation pepper its path. Perhaps this is because Mary knew what awaited her at her destination. Her journey was painful. Her destination? Priceless. Bringing into the world the very Son of God.
So, what about you? Do you carry dreams, which others laugh at? Has your journey been a rocky one? Plagued with disappointment, obstacles and accusation? Beloved, fix your eyes on Mary’s promise fulfilled, Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith and mine. Our faithful Father watches over His word to perform it. Wait patiently for what He’s promised to come to pass and hold onto Him tightly in the waiting. Like Mary, host His presence daily. Allow His Holy Spirit to give you the strength, perseverance and faith you need to keep going until that finish line is in sight. He is able.