17. Troubled

Short Meds in Getting Ready in Covid-Advent: 17. Troubled

Lk 1:29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.”

I realise there is a certain similarity in message in a number of these short studies, but I believe it is a message the Lord wants to convey as we prepare for the days ahead, days not focused on Covid but focused on the coming power of the Lord, and we need to keep on addressing a particular point of vulnerability many of us have. In the previous study we considered various reasons why we might struggle with the angel’s greeting but now we must consider Mary’s response.

Observing Christian life and culture one cannot help but notice how believers get defensively suspicious should you dare to say, “I think I have a word for you”. It is a sign of low spiritual self-esteem that we referred to before, that cannot believe that everything the Lord wants to say to us will be for our good; it is, if you like, an offshoot outworking of the sin of unbelief. It is something I believe we all have to battle with constantly.

Satan’s first recorded temptation, of Eve, focused on the negative side of God’s instructions to them and challenged what God had said: “You will not certainly die.”  Thus the battle continues in our minds and we are left wondering. The constant battle for the truth means we are often wondering what is the truth and what about me?

We often struggle with a sense of failure and doubt and to overcome that we have to return to the Cross. Mary is like the rest of us and when the angel greets her warmly she wonders what is coming. No doubt she is aware of her own imperfections and for God to speak warmly of her surprises her perhaps.

But there is perhaps another aspect of this to note. When Israel’s history showed most of God’s dealing were with men, Mary might be excused for wondering why her now, a young girl, probably in a lowly position, is being approached by an angel with such a warm greeting. The Bible is very honest about recording Mary’s struggle to cope with this situation and we should not fear when we have similar struggles. The Lord IS there for us and we have to just battle through to be reassured that that is so. Becoming secure ‘in Christ’ takes time and starts and ends with humility – and confidence in who we are, as we said yesterday. The humility starting point is coming to the realization that, yes, I am a sinner (see Paul Rom 7:14-) and I need Christ’s help (Rom 7:24,25), but the confidence comes in the awareness that he is there for me, an adopted child of God – but I have to keep on holding to that truth.

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