BY MINH CANG
DAY 6: Joyful Anticipation | Wednesday of the 3rd Week of Advent| 12.20.17
- Isaiah 7:10-14. Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel.
- Psalm 24:1-6. Let the Lord enter; he is the king of glory.
- Luke 1:26-38. Announcement of the Birth of Jesus
Worry was written all over her face as Mary froze with fear, her mind racing to figure the meaning behind Gabriel’s greeting. She didn’t even have to say a word. With panic and doubt gripping her insides, I imagine the angel softly putting his hands onto Mary’s shoulders, whispering to her, “Take a deep breath in and don’t stress out, Mary. God has a plan.” Still, Mary wrestled with self-doubt, struggling to cast her vision beyond her current situation.
Isn’t it wonderful how God is never limited by our human imagination? In fact, He is magnified all the more! Dr. Tony Evans aptly states, “God will often allow us to be in a situation with no possible solution. This is so we can discover that He is our solution.” (Evans, 2014)
The task at hand seemed impossible, which is exactly how I felt during the month of September when everything seemed to fall apart at once. My marriage which had been thriving for years, started to go downhill and soon we got pretty good at dishonoring each other with our words and fell into a habit of going to bed angry. And friends, I really dislike going to bed angry.
Preschool just started again for my three year-old son and while we didn’t struggle with separation anxiety issues, my stomach turned almost every day at pick-up not knowing if he threw a tantrum, if he stayed in his spot during circle time or if he melted down during music. Worse yet, did he hurt a friend? You see, my sweet son loves strong, so if you ever wanted a hug, go ahead and brace yourself for a tackle.
On top of it all, my daughter and I were three weeks into our kindergarten homeschooling adventure and before long, I found myself snapping at the littlest of things, apologizing to her multiple times a day for my uncontrolled spirit of anger. I never imagined home-school life to be this way.
With 90% of my emotional energy devoted to managing tantrums, I had roughly 10% remaining in my love tank for homeschooling my daughter, respecting my husband and squeezing in some self-care here and there. Simply put, the odds were not in my favor.
The evidence became clear when three out of the four weeks in September, I cried at least once. You know — the type of ugly cry that leaves your eyes puffy and snot running out of your nose? Yep, that kind. And twice it happened in public, where thankfully I was surrounded by sweet sisters in Christ who comforted me with prayers and hugs.
Even though it wasn’t pretty at the time, I always anticipated God was up to something good. For weeks, as my focus zeroed in on the mountain of problems and growing list of to-dos, anxiety overwhelmed me. Yet, when the Lord lifted my eyes up from the horizon, my problems seemed to fade so I could finally see more of Him. I didn’t need all the answers and simply prayed He would be magnified.
Little by little, I sensed my vision and heart realigning with His. One finger at a time, God loosened my white-knuckled grip on life to teach me the beauty of letting go and leaning into His comforting embrace. Only through surrender could I experience God’s character so intimately and fully. He is my Mighty Provider and Powerful Protector, who is in charge of it all. He misses no detail. He is my Savior, my Master who undertakes complete responsibility for the care of his beloved daughter.
Mary, too, demonstrated her belief in God as Master when she declared herself a servant of the Lord in verse 38. With no Plan B, Mary made a deliberate decision to submit wholly to the will of the Father. No one else could’ve made that choice for her. In whole-hearted devotion, Mary chose absolute loyalty to the Lord, her Master, anticipating the joy and freedom of submitting to God’s infinite wisdom and authority. She trusted God to do the impossible.
In this season of advent, we will have a chance to respond in trust. Are we choosing to surrender and witness the Lord working out everyday miracles or are we still straining to keep it all together on our own? When we fight the instinct to strive, we find peace and rest in our Creator. Our overwhelming circumstances suddenly become bearable because we no longer shoulder those burdens alone. We can now joyfully anticipate God’s glory in full display.
Minh Cang is a 32 year-old relentless pursuer of Christ, who spills joy all around her. She lives in Northern Virginia, where she loves to laugh and snuggle with her husband and their two children. She is a brave adventurer and will try anything at least once. When she’s not home schooling, she loves to connect with others and pour words of encouragement into people lives.