The day started out like any other day in the village of Nazareth years ago. But, for young Mary, everything changed with a surprise visit from an angel who announced she had been chosen to bear the Son of God. Would she do it? Yes. She would be part of God’s plan.
Saying “yes” to God is a good thing, right? If we’re doing his will, he’ll make it easy for us. He’ll show the path, open doors, bring the right people to help us, and generally smooth the way. Not always.
Just ask Mary: finding no suitable place to birth this miracle child, thinking at one time he may have lost his mind, hearing of his embarrassing confrontations with respected religious leaders, and then watching him die a criminal’s death.
When we say “yes” to God, we know the journey with him will have a glorious end, but we must expect hindrances, challenges, pain along the way. The plan of God includes suffering. Mary knows. Jesus knows. I imagine you know, too.
If you’re suffering, it doesn’t mean God has abandoned you. It doesn’t mean you’re not doing his will. Saying “yes” to God does mean when the suffering comes, he’s there with us. When we choose to follow him, we’re never alone. When we hurt, he hurts with us. When we’re anxious, he gives us peace. When we’re in pain, he comforts.
And, finally, at the end of the suffering, there is joy. Think resurrection. Think eternal kingdom. Joy, inexpressible joy, will come.
“True joy, as it turns out, comes only to those who have devoted their lives to something greater than personal happiness.” – John Ortberg