While childlessness is a trial for infertile couples and we consider parenthood a great blessing, for others pregnancy might indeed be the trial that God uses to change their hearts...Just as God may want to use my empty arms to bring me closer to Himself, God may challenge another woman I don't feel "deserves" a baby with such a gift so that He can ultimately reminder her that He is still God." (pp 38-39)
I have been meditating on that a lot, especially in light of the Christmas season. In the early weeks of Christmas, I was dreading hearing songs about the infant Christ and seeing a manger brought pain instead of joy. But as I thought about Jennifer's words, I was challenged to think of Mary. By the world's standards, she was "undeserving" of any motherhood, much less that of the Christ child! She was a terrified, unwed, poor teen aged mother. And yet God chose her out of His own mercy and grace to be the mother of our Lord and Savior.
How the hushed whispers and the sideways glances of her once friends must have wounded her. How much must her heart have ached at the thought that her beloved Joseph might suspect her of infidelity and put her away? How much she must have worried at the prospect of returning to her parents home with an pregnancy with an unbelievable explanation! She must have spent a least a little time wondering how she and Joseph would provide and care for a child when she was but a child herself! And I can imagine how her heart must have been squeezed a little tighter with each refusal of lodging that fateful Christmas eve!
And yet, how much did God do in her heart.
Mary said unto the Lord,
"My soul exalts the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
"For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave;
For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed.
"For the Mighty One has done great things for me;
And holy is His name.
"AND HIS MERCY IS UPON GENERATION AFTER GENERATION
TOWARD THOSE WHO FEAR HIM.
"He has done mighty deeds with His arm;
He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart.
"He has brought down rulers from their thrones,
And has exalted those who were humble.
"HE HAS FILLED THE HUNGRY WITH GOOD THINGS;
And sent away the rich empty-handed.
"He has given help to Israel His servant,
In remembrance of His mercy,
As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and his descendants forever."
I learn so much for her ability to praise so sincerely in the midst of her adversity. I'm sure the arrival of an unexpected pregnancy turned her world upside down as much as the withholding of pregnancy has mine. And yet she revered God for the "Great things" He had done. How small my faith is in comparison.
I am glad God's economy does not work like mine does. Only God would choose a penniless child to be the mother of our Lord. And yet His choice was intentional and Mary was humble to His plan for her. Would that I could follow in her footsteps!
I have a long way to go and I still do pray that one day God will see fit to give us a biological child of our own, but in the mean time, would that I had even a fraction of Mary's faith in the midst of my adversity. I am so thankful for God's example of her faith and His mercy. Thanks be to God!
And thanks, Jennifer, for your challenging words.