Much in my life seems impossible right now. Have you ever been burdened or broken at the path God has put before you? This past week, that has been me. Most days, I am giddy with anticipation at all that God has given me to do. But this week I've been heavy and hurting and sifting through lies.
It looks something like this, "If I rest, everyone will be punished for it. No one else can bear the responsibility for these kids and this household but me."
Or like this, "I know you are calling me to write, God. I hear you loud and clear. But that is laughable. Where is the time? I can't just drop my kids off at the sitter because you've given me the desire to write. That counters everything else you've given me to do, everyone else you given me to love."
Or like this, "I want you to give me a vehicle that works, God, but I don't want to give up the time my husband gives to me and the kids to fix our car. It is hard enough doing this alone throughout the week. I don't want to give him up on the weekend. Nope."
This week, the weight of responsibility outweighed my trust in a God for whom all things are possible.
This morning I found myself contrasting two women's responses from the Bible, and then I wondered which response was my own to the calling God has set before me.
Now, as a rule, I don't compare women from the Bible. I think the whole Mary/Martha business is below the belt and often unfair. Jesus loved them both to pieces. I wouldn't want to be compared to another sister in Christ, so why would I do that to them? But I think if we can look at their actions, their responses to the life they'd been given, holding them both up as daughters of the most High, we can see both their strengths and sins and learn from them. So understand this post with that caveat.
I love these women.
Mary and Sarah had both been chosen by God to be the mother of a child who bore profound promises, responsibilities, and power. Both children were born into impossible circumstances, both pregnancies inconceivable both on a heart level and physical level.
Sarah was given the task at a very old age to give birth to a child who would be the designated heir and fulfillment of the promise of God to make Abraham a father of many nations. Isaac would become the first generation to walk with the title and position of God's chosen one.
Mary was given the task at a very young age to birth a child who would be the fulfillment of all God's promises. Though she had never had sex, she was chosen to be the mother of our Savior and given Jesus. He was chosen to save the world through his death and resurrection, but first he had to go about living as fully man and fully God, bearing all our temptation before he bore all our shame, guilt, and sin.
Sarah, upon learning of her gift, laughed at God. Her laugh was not one of joy, but of mirth. It was impossible. Her laugh was bitter. As He often does, God did not answer with a blatant statement of condemnation, but with a question to convict Sarah, "Is anything too hard for the Lord?" (Gen 18:13)
Mary, upon learning of her gift, worshiped God. In Luke 1:46-55, Mary sings a song of praise, starting with this phrase, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior." She was in just as impossible, if not more impossible, circumstances as Sarah. She was unmarried, young, hopeless that anyone would believe her or extend her the benefit of the doubt. But her response was drastically different. And the encouragement the angel had given her previous to this worship session? "For nothing will be impossible with God." (Luke 1:37)
These women were both human. Both sinful. Both loved, seen, and chosen. Neither of them had an advantage over the other. Sarah and Mary could be any of the women we do life with every day, who love the Lord and want to follow them with their lives. I feel for Sarah, to be known with a response of laughing at God and trying to manipulate her circumstances like we so often try to do.
I see myself in Sarah. Believing that it is impossible that God would choose me, and laughing at the things He is calling me to do. I call both my position as chosen, my inheritance, and all the blessed work He has set before me impossible.
But now God is posing ME this question: Is anything too hard for the Lord?
And I'm tickled to realize He has already answered his own rhetorical question: For nothing is impossible with God.
And this blog post is the proof that God can make what you think is impossible, possible, as I type on my computer in the wee hours of the morning before kids awake from their footie pajama slumbers.
So here I am, responding as a Sarah desiring and learning to respond like a Mary. I'm the same as them. I'm chosen. God has chosen me, for nothing I did or could ever do. I'm loved fiercely. I'm heard and seen and known completely. Yet, I have most definitely laughed at God when I see the work He has set before me, calling it impossible.
Maybe it is so impossible because I think I bear the responsibility of changing myself or changing others or changing life in general to make goodness come out of my life. But that is not what I see God is calling us to do. The gospel is that He has already done the work and called us holy. Now He is just calling us to present impossible selves to Him, for whom nothing is impossible. He calls us to present our members as instruments of righteousness (Romans 6) and to present our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God (Romans 12). This is our spiritual act of worship.He never asked us to change ourselves or change our circumstances. He asks us to be willing and worshipful.
I think if we realized the gospel, how loved and cherished we are and the audacity and impossibility that He saved us in the first place, we would absolutely laugh, but not with bitterness, with JOY and EXPECTANCY. And we would RUN, not walk, to worship Him and present ourselves to Him however the heck He wants to use us, trusting His way is not only right, but best, unapologetically and flamboyantly better than anything we could come up with on our own.
So here is my simple and giddy prayer, as a habitual Sarah learning how to be a Mary, as I face the impossible of my day with an everything is possible kind of God:
Lord, I am willing.
Lord, I worship you.