Advent at the Chapel: Willing Submission



Mary’s Response: Willing Submission

by Noa Lovegren

Who would have thought that a poor, insignificant virgin could become so blessed? Who would have thought that one day her song would be in God’s own Word?

God knew, and he put a wonderful song on her lips. Mary’s response was one of willing surrender. It was not surrender because she was scared, or because she was getting money or something out of it. No, it was willing surrender. To her, it was a gift God gave to someone unworthy. No matter that she would be scorned by many, no matter Joseph might forsake her, this was God’s will, and she was willing to obey Him.

“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant,” Mary rejoices (Luke 1:46-48). Mary’s  submission, meek attitude, obedience, and willing surrender are all things that should characterize Christians. These should characterize us especially during hard times, and times when we just don’t understand.

Just like Mary, we must acknowledge God’s will, and know that it is always the best for us.

  “All are alike before the Highest;
         ‘Tis easy to our God, we know,
         To raise thee up though low thou liest,
         To make the rich man poor and low;
         True wonders still by Him are wrought
         Who setteth up and brings to naught.

         Sing, pray, and keep His ways undeserving,
         So do thine own part faithfully
         And trust His Word–though undeserving,
         thou yet shall find it true for thee;
         God never yet forsook at need,
         The soul that trusted Him indeed.”
Georg Neumark, Hymn #670: 4+5



For Advent devotions this year, we are using Pastor Tim Keller’s themes in his new book  Hidden Christmas

You Will Not Abandon

…because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one
see decay.
Psalm 16:10

I realized quickly after leaving college that I would no longer be equipped with easy means of evaluating success and failure. The learning curve of dealing with the ambiguities of the day-to-day is immense… assessment is what I know and what I have come to trust to provide me with value and meaning. To take that step out into the realm of uncertainty requires boldness, trust, and a willingness to embrace confusion.

Throughout his psalms, David often acknowledges and grapples with the uncertainty of life as king and as God’s servant. He did not have the luxury of knowing he had made a right decision; he, however, continued to root himself in a deeper and truer certainty. God would provide. David makes the ridiculous claim here that those faithful to God would never see decay. No justification existed for such a statement… every man before David, king or poor, had been given over to the grave. Death seemed the one knowable fact in a life full of confusion.

Thus, in speaking with utmost trust and submission (escape from death was something David could never bring about), David spoke prophetically of the Messiah. A life of continual assessment and accomplishment leaves no room for prophecy. Only where submission to and trust in God are required can we as Christians speak with the utter dependency that leads us to the prophetic. Lent calls us back to this dependency, leading to a submission that leaves us open to speaking prophetic truths in a confused world.

~ Ben Gibson