Mary’s Song 1
The Leprosy Mission produces an internal daily devotional guide, The Bridge, for use in offices, hospitals, clinics and projects around the world. Current and former staff and trustees from many countries contribute to the guide. We will share with you contributions made by our staff team.
Mary – Christmas card or nativity play image – Mary gentle, meek and mild. Which may all be true but Mary’s song also known as the Magnificat shows she has depth; intellect; a deep spiritually- she really knows God and that gives her confidence. She lived her life from the top down. What do I mean by that?
There are two ways we can live our life. One is to start with our life and our experience and project that on to God. What could be described as the bottom-up approach. The result is, when things are good, some feel like God’s a good God and he’s close and he loves me and he cares about me. And when things are hard, some start to wonder, “Is there really a God?” They start to gravitate toward agnosticism or atheism. Or maybe God is very, very far away, and he’s not really interested in my life. Or maybe God’s an impersonal force, not a person; maybe I’m on my own; I don’t really have a relationship with God. Maybe God is good and evil, yin and yang. Or an aberration of Christian theology called “process theology” or “open theism.” Maybe God is good, but he’s powerless. He’s impotent. He wants to help me, he wants to do good, but he’s just not powerful and strong enough.
The result is, if you start bottom-up-you start with your feelings and experiences and sin and sadness and suffering, and you project them toward God- when you need him most you’ll run from him not to him. You’ll have questions about him. And you’re going to be in a difficult place. Some of you are there today. You’re certain that your future is uncertain. What’s going to happen next? How is this going to work out? Life has become very complicated.
The other way to live life is what can be called the top-down approach. It is to assume that God is who He says He is; that the Bible is true and that it reveals to us the character, the nature, the attributes of God. Believing that and then interpreting all of our life in light of what God says and who God says He is. If that’s the case then, as we study Scripture, we realise God is good. He made the world good; we’ve corrupted it through sin. The sin, the suffering and the sadness that is experienced, is not because of God, it’s because of Satan, demons and sinners all working together in a war against God. God is good, altogether always and only good. And God has a plan that he is working out and unfolding through history to be redeemer; liberator; deliverer and Saviour.
So when we are suffering, anxious, or frustrated, we are to trust in God, run to God, not to run from God. God often in Scripture provides people to serve as examples. Some are very negative, responding in ways that are deplorable. Their life and their legacy suffer. God gives them to us as warnings. Other people respond to God in faith. They trust Him. They trust His word. They trust His character. They trust His promises, particularly in the most difficult of circumstances, and they are for us wonderful examples.
One of the best examples is a young woman named Mary. She is an amazing woman. Her story starts in the Old Testament Book of Isaiah, chapter 7, verse 14, hundreds of years before she was even born. Isaiah the prophet revealed through the Holy Spirit that a virgin, would give birth to a son. And that his name would be Immanuel, which means God with us.
More about Mary tomorrow.