"Mary responded, 'I am the Lord's servant. May everything you have said about me come true.' And then the angel left her." Luke 1:38 (NLT)
Lord, I'm not sure I can take one more rejection.
No. No. No. Every email I received said the same thing, using different words. We don't publish that type of book. We don't publish writers we don't know. We won't publish you.
Letting each rejection seep into my heart, many days I crawled into bed and cried. Why would God ask me to do something good, yet allow a process that made me feel so bad?
But then I remembered Mary, who was much wiser than I. Her story is found in the Bible. Instead of building her confidence on something she could lose, or have taken away, she built her confidence on God.
Picture this teenager. She's engaged to a great guy. Wedding plans are in motion. Life is good.
Then suddenly, her happily-ever-after dreams are interrupted by an angel announcing this surprise:
"Good morning! You're beautiful with God's beauty, Beautiful inside and out! God be with you" (Luke 1:28, MSG).
Flattered? Nope. She was scared! However, the angel assures her, "You have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you. You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call his name Jesus" (v. 29-33).
My reaction would have been, What? Pregnant? I'm not married yet! There's no way!
But when Mary received this news, we don't see fear or doubt. Her response isn't, "This will be the end of me! What will everyone say about me?"
Mary doesn't ditch her confidence. Instead, as we find in today's key verse, her reaction is grounded in faith: "I am the Lord's servant. May everything you have said about me come true" (Luke 1:38a).
Mary responded with confidence because Mary's confidence began with her relationship with God.
Not on something, like her reputation. That was outside her control.
Not on someone, like Joseph. For all she knew, he would leave her once he learned she was pregnant.
Not on some place, like her home. Mary actually left town to visit her cousin after she received this news.
Did Mary understand everything God was doing? Unlikely. Or resent what He was doing? Doesn't appear so.
Would others judge her? No doubt they would, but Mary did not allow people's opinions to prevent her from embracing God's calling, even if she didn't completely understand it. The lack of details didn't impact her confidence in His plans for her life, nor her trust in Him to take care of her.
There have been times when I've based my confidence on others. As a teenager, I based it on a boyfriend's affection, a coach's affirmation or my parent's approval. If one of them failed to give the "Atta girl!" I craved, I saw myself as a failure.
As a mom, I've built it on my kids and their performance. When they made a mistake, my confidence was shaken. I've based my security on my career and the success I wanted. Success hasn't always come, although rejection often has.
Has there been a time when circumstances were less than perfect and your confidence was shaken?
I'm learning that unshakable confidence is not built on someone, something or someplace, but on our unshakable God. This confidence is built over time, before confidence-shaking circumstances come. In the difficult times, God has taught me He alone is my firm foundation for rebuilding confidence. Only Him.
As we face inevitable uncertainties in life, in our relationships, in our futures, let's start to rebuild our confidence on the One that can never be taken away: God. The only One who will never leave us or forsake us.
Lord, it's easier to build my confidence on what I can see and what I know. Help me to build my confidence on You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY: Hebrews 10:35-36, "So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised." (NIV)
REFLECT AND RESPOND: What have you been building your confidence on? Is it something you could lose or have taken from you?
How can you begin to make a shift and build your confidence on God — His faithfulness and love for you?
© 2014 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries 630 Team Rd., Suite 100 Matthews, NC 28105 www.Proverbs31.org