The AMI Spiritual Food for Thought for the weekend of January 5-6 is provided by Mei Lan Thallman who is currently serving as a staff at Grace Covenant Church in Philadelphia. Mei Lan, originally from Taiwan, is a graduate of Asbury College and Asbury Theological Seminary (M.A.) in Kentucky. She and her husband Pastor Kirt have two children, Nate and Naomi
Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.”
In preparation for the past advent season, I was struck by Mary’s character, childlike trust and deep faith in God. Though just a teenager, she displayed maturity beyond her years. And while tracing the progression of her life recorded in Scripture, I, as a child of God, and a wife and mother, have been convicted and challenged by her example.
First, her response to angel Gabriel’s visit and revelation—“I am the Lord’s servant”—revealed an identity strongly rooted in God. Before the visit, she was a daughter, fiancée, and a member of her community; but now she was first and foremost God’s child and servant. Evidently, she grew up in a family that had nurtured her faith in God, which led to having an intimate personal relationship with Him. Thus, having recognized God’s voice and leading, she trusted Him with unconditional surrender and submission to His will, believing that God could fulfill His yet-unknown plan for her life. God’s redemptive plan was made in eternity past, and now she would be called upon to serve a crucial role in bringing it about; she responded with a wholehearted surrender to His sovereign will without any hesitation.
Mary was willing to do whatever God asked of her because she understood that the primary purpose of her life was loving and serving God above all else. She trusted God as her defender who would be able to convince her future husband of the divine conception.
It’s easy to see why God chose and entrusted both Joseph and Mary to be Jesus’ earthly parents. Individually and as a couple, they made a conscious choice to love God above themselves and each other. They were willing to put Him and His plans above their own and make necessary adjustments and sacrifices to be obedient to His leading. So they deferred the consummation of their marriage and humbly embraced and endured the journey to Bethlehem and later to Egypt.
As I reflected on Mary and Joseph’s life, I see a sharp contrast from my own. With all my heart I want to love God; yet, when push comes to shove my response to God’s own plan is more often self-centered rather than God-centered. When I was confronted with uncertainties of my future, and as I struggled with making necessary but risky changes to my life, I tended to retreat in doubt and fear rather than move forward with a firm faith, and say “Yes” to Jesus continuously without reservation, hesitation and condition.
Praise God that in those moments of questions and doubts, He reminded me that the secret to faith is found in Christ Jesus who now lives within me. God already knows that I can never love and serve him wholeheartedly on my own, no matter how sincere my desires are. In my own strength and effort, I am guaranteed to fail. But with Jesus all things are possible. In Him I can rest assured by trusting Him and entrust my all to Him one moment, one step at a time.
Prayer: God, please help me to begin 2019 with Mary’s heart and obedience. I am a servant to the Holy Spirit; please help me (and my family) to center my life around You and make necessary adjustments to do Your will above my own. God, I know I cannot do this without Your help, bring me to a place of total surrender to Your control and plan for my life. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Genesis 5-6