I know that we have passed the Christmas season, and are all back into the swing of work – and well into this first month of the new year. However, there is a phrase that I heard this last Christmas that has really stuck with me. It's one I hear every Christmas, but this time it resonated with me on a deeper level than ever before.
The phrase is: 'I am the Lord's servant,' Mary answered. 'May your word to me be fulfilled.' (Luke 1:38). This is Mary's response after the angel suddenly appeared to her, a teenager, engaged to be married but still a virgin, and told her that she would become pregnant with God's son. What an answer – I don't think I would have been so full of humble submission and faith.
I haven't been able to get away from Mary's response for the whole of the Christmas season and now during this first month of 2017.
Because God has been challenging me on this point in so many other ways too. It reminds me of something Pete Greig talks about in his book Dirty Glory, for instance, and what he said in an interview I did with him: "The best decision you can ever make is to say yes to God. The most stupid and dangerous thing you could ever do would be to say 'no'."
I don't think we should belittle how difficult it can be to say yes to God – Jesus Himself warned us: 'Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me' (Luke 9:23). There is a struggle and a sacrifice that Jesus didn't gloss over. Indeed He told His disciples: ''If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you." (John 15:18–19).
And yet, as Pete pointed out, there is nothing like following God where He leads us. The adventure, sense of closeness with Him, the joy and peace that mysteriously but wonderfully "transcends all understanding" (Philippians 4:7) are but a few of the amazing by-products of saying yes to God.
Whatever difficulties we face in this world, we know that we "have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us" and "our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all" (2 Corinthians 4:7, 17). God's perspective on our situations reveals that it is always best to say yes to Him!
So, can I ask you, how are you doing at saying yes to His promptings so far this year? Are you answering enthusiastically, or are you trying to ignore them? Perhaps, in all honesty, you have stopped hearing His voice? It is never too late to reconnect with Him, and to say yes to whatever He says next. He is such a gracious, loving Father, He gives us so many opportunities to practice saying "Yes Lord! I am your servant. Let my life be as You have said it will be. Take me where You want me to go and teach me to do what You want me to. I know I am Your hands and feet on this earth. Help me not to miss Your leading in my life."