In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”
Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” (Luke 1:26–33 NLT)
All it takes is an instant for our world to change. Even when that change is for the good – like finding out you have been accepted into your top choice university or making vows with your new spouse before God and others – it still creates a new uncertainty about the future and what it will hold. The birth of a child is always a life-altering event, but for Mary, whose pregnancy was a surprise even to her, the suddenness of the change was more than disorienting.
In The Summer of the Great Grandmother, Madeleine L’Engle writes, “It’s a good thing to have all the props pulled out from under us occasionally. It gives us some sense of what is rock under our feet, and what is sand.” Based on Mary’s response in verse 38 – “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” – we know she found firm footing on the Rock of Ages beneath her feet, despite her initial confused and disturbed response.
When our world changes, and it is not for the better, it is all the more important to know where the rock beneath our feet is found. At a recent gathering of NAB church planters, Executive Director Harry Kelm said, “It’s in trouble that I know that I really need Jesus.” Whether a life-altering event is for good or for ill, we can hold fast to the Rock under our feet and trust it will hold steady even in the midst of the turbulence of life.
When life-altering events hit you unawares and you find yourself confused and disturbed, are you, like Mary, able to find your footing on the Rock under your feet, or do you find yourself instead knee-deep in the sand? How can you ensure your response at the next big change is more in line with the former than the latter?