Some of my darkest times have been when the future I mapped out for myself was not the future I was experiencing: struggling to conceive a child, dealing with a difficult diagnosis, or working through the challenges of aging parents. These were all times when I had a plan, a vision of how it was all going to work out and it wasn’t going my way. I fought against the reality of what I was experiencing and the result was deep sadness and anger.

Today I’m thinking about Mary. There she was being told, “You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great and he will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of David his father. He will rule over Jacob’s house forever, and there will be no end to his kingdom.” Her first response to this angelic announcement is to ask, basically, “How is that going to happen?” The angel explains and then does something very interesting. As part of the explanation, the angel gives an example of what God can do. The angel reminds Mary that Elizabeth, despite her old age, is with child and that “nothing is impossible for God.” To this Mary says, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let it be with me just as you have said.” Wow, no anger, no sadness, just “okay, let’s do this.”

Mary put her trust in what God is able to do and said in essence, “thy will be done.” Mary did not envision being pregnant before she was married nor did she anticipate giving birth to the “Son of the Most High,” and I’m pretty sure her plan did not include having that child in a stable. It seems to me, at least when I read Luke 1:2438 that Mary let go of control and let be what it was going to be.

In Mary I see a wonderful example of how to deal with the unplanned and unexpected. Rather than fight it or get mad at God, I should reflect on the blessings in my life and the lives of those around me, then pray the prayer that never fails, “Thy will be done.”

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