Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Are You Ready for God to Change Your Plans?

Luke 1:28–29 (ESV)
And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”  But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be.

You know this wasn’t what Mary had planned for her life.  She had no plans to be a mother before she got married, let alone to be the mother of God’s Son.   She had no plans to move to Bethlehem, then to Egypt, then back to Nazareth.    Mary had no plans for her son to be the Savior of the world.  I doubt that Mary would have chosen to watch her Son be nailed to a cross and die.  Never in a million years did she think that by the end of her life she would be living in Ephesus with the Apostle John. No, Mary’s plans must have looked much different. At some future date she was going to marry Joseph, the man picked out for her by her father.  Then they would have children.  He would support them with his carpentry.  They would live out their lives together and die in Nazareth.    All that changed when God sent her that angel.  “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”    We can all understand why Mary was greatly troubled by this.  After all, in that one moment, God changed all of her plans. I doubt very much that she was ready.

Are you ready for God to change your plans?  I ask that because when He calls that’s what he does. At one time, I planned on being a musician not a Pastor.  God had other plans.  He kept sending people to point out to me that liking music wasn’t the same as being good at it.  But talking, teaching – that He has given me a talent for.  I never planned on living in Texas.  God called us there twice.  I planned on retiring at Concordia Wisconsin but then God called me back to Texas.  I planned on retiring at Lamb of God in Flower Mound but then God called us to Germany.  I have given up figuring out what comes next.  Our DCE here at Trinity in Frankfurt, Kendra McNatt will tell you that she wasn’t supposed to be here.  This wasn’t her plan. She was never going to be a church worker. She was going to train dolphins. She was pretty good at it.  So when God called, she didn’t want to follow. She would tell you she wasn’t ready.  But He kept calling. She kept resisting (and in the process making herself miserable) until one day “kicking and screaming” she said yes. 

Are you ready for God to change your plans?  His calling will not likely come to you from an angel, although He could send one if He wished.  His calling will most likely not be into fulltime church work, but for some of you it might.  It may be a calling to be a leader or a teacher in the church.  He may call you to change jobs or to move to a new town.  If there are destructive behaviors going on in your life, I can guarantee that He will call you to leave that behavior behind.  His may use an illness or the loss of a job or some other crisis in your life to help you hear his voice.  However it comes, whenever it comes, whatever His calling is, 0my guess is that you will not really be ready for the change.  I don’t think any of us ever are.  My prayer is that even so, when God calls that you will say yes to whatever it is… even if it scares you… even if you don’t understand it. 

That’s what Mary did.  There was no way she was ready for what God was about to do in her life… Even after the angel’s explanation of her pregnancy, she wasn’t ready. Oh she accepted His words, but I doubt she understood them… I doubt very much that she was prepared for all the things that were about to change.  Yet Mary said yes. “Behold I am the servant of the Lord.  Let it be to me according to Your Word.”  How could she say yes even though she wasn’t ready?  Because what the Angel made plain to Mary was that God was ready.  He had been preparing from before the beginning of time to give His Son. He had brought all history to this point.   Now in the fullness of time He sent forth His Son.   No matter how many unknown things were about to happen, they would not be unknown to Him.  He was ready.  She could trust Him.   We are no different.  Though we are never really ready for God to work changes in our lives, we can trust Him.   We can say yes because we know He is ready.  He made this world.  He knows our names, counts the hairs on our head and gave His Son for us.  We can follow His calling without fear.  He is always ready.   

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