When the angel told Mary that she was going to be the mother of the Messiah, she wasn’t greatly thrilled, she was greatly troubled. We tend to think that Mary had some kind of heads-up about her future, that she was prepared for this news. She wasn’t! The great philosopher Soren Kierkegaard’s quote, “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards,” was as true for Mary then as it is for us now. Mary was caught off-guard and the ramifications of the news were far-reaching, life-threatening, and world-changing! Yet, in a short amount of time, she assessed her trust in God versus her fear of what could or might be, and responded, “let it be with me according to your word.” There is no doubt that Mary was a righteous young woman. God wouldn’t have chosen her otherwise. Her readiness for this moment rested in her faith in God, her absolute trust in His plan and her belief that His best for her was indeed the best that could be. Let it be!

Jn 14:27, 19:26-27; Mt 6:33; Mk 3:21, 34-35, 6:3; Lk 1:30-32, 38, 2:34-35, 48-49, 51; Acts 1:14

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27) “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matt 6:33) Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:38)

Your desire to control your life, surroundings and the people around you is a beast to be reckoned with. You are only in control until you aren’t. Far too many people spend much of their lives striving and failing to control what must be left in God’s capable hands. Jesus’ mother Mary learned to rest in God’s great plan. Her marriage wasn’t as she planned, her family wasn’t as she planned, Jesus’ life was not what she thought it would be. The amount of difficulty and sorrow she had to endure was not in her plan. What mother can imagine the grief of watching her child be beaten and crucified. Through the years Mary pondered the things she didn’t understand and treasured them in her heart. Even in the moments when nothing made sense, she was present with God and trusted His plan. Trusting God doesn’t make everything easy, understandable or pretty, but it does relieve the stress of trying to control what you can’t. When you find yourself in times of trouble, let it be…according to God’s Word, according to God’s plan; just let it be!

Are you a controller? If so, how has that played out for you? How much stress is associated with trying to control situations and circumstances in your life? Are there things you should control that you aren’t controlling? Explain. What situation is causing you pain because you can’t control it? How are you handling that? Do you have the wisdom to know the difference between what you can and can’t control? Give an example. Is having faith in God and trusting God the same? Explain. Why are so many people on anti-anxiety medication today? Why so many teens with anxiety and emotional issues? How can hardship be a pathway to peace as stated in the serenity prayer? How’s your trust in God?

When circumstances distress you, when you are troubled, turn it over to God. Trust Him. Let it be.

The Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Neibuhr
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference, living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardship as a pathway to peace, taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it, trusting that You will make all things right, if I surrender to Your will, so that I may be reasonably happy in this life. And supremely happy with You forever in the next. Amen.