Sometimes it's funny being a Youth Pastor. On occassion, I'll be reviewing my lesson for the week that comes from our Orange curriculum, and I'll think to myself, "Wow. I really needed to hear that." That is exactly what happened this past week.
The bottom line for last week's message was, "God's Story > Our Assumptions." We explored Luke 1 and 2, and studied the storylines of two different families in the Christmas Story. As the students and I were exploring the stories of Zechariah and Elizabeth and Mary and Joseph, it became clear that there were stark differences in the two journeys. When the angel, Gabriel, appeared to Zechariah, informing him that his wife of old age was pregnant, his first repsonse was doubt and disbelief: "How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years" (Luke 1:18). Instead of believing that God's promise was being fulfilled in his life, Zechariah chose to trust his own assumptions, rather than God's good story for his life.
I can't fault Zechariah too much in this story. On too many occasions in my own life, I've chosen disbelief and doubt over trust and obedience. On one occassion this past summer, I heard God speaking to my heart. I felt that He was asking me to pray for a specific need in my life, in a very specific way. I started praying specifically for this need for a week or two, and then my doubting nature began to take over. "God wouldn't choose to answer my prayer this way. Who am I to think that He would do such a big thing in my life?" Doubt and disbelief consumed my heart and as a result, I began walking in disobedience.
The other storyline in Luke 1 is of Mary, mother of Jesus. Similar to Zechariah's story, an angel visits Mary to tell her that she is with child. Contrasted to Zechariah's response, though, Mary's immediate response is belief and surrender: "I am the Lord's servant. May your word to me be fulfilled" (Luke 1:38).
Oh, that we could all operate in a trust and surrender as grace-filled as Mary's. Each time I read this story, I am astounded at her child-like faith and I am convicted that I need more of that in my life. Mary didn't let her assumptions become greater than God's story in her life. Rather than assuming she knew better or more than God, she simply surrendered in full trust and faith that God would come through for her.
In case you're wondering, I did again begin praying the prayer that I believed God was calling me to in the summer. In October I felt the sweet presence of the Spirit say to me, "Do you really think I can't do that for you?" Thankfully, He got my attention that night, and I have begun praying more surrendered prayers in faith and trust. I refuse to opperate in the space of my assumptions being greater than God's Story any longer. I choose to believe that His story is greater than all of my assumptions, and that He will come through for me in ways that only He can.
His story for our lives is so much greater than anything we could ever write for ourselves. What miracle do you need to trust God for this Christmas season? Healing? Salvation? A child? A marriage? Whatever you need in your life, know that God is working out your story, even as you read this. His plans for you are good - so what are you waiting for? Pray the audacious prayer. Believe Him for the insane miracle. Trust the dreams He has placed in your heart.
He is good. And He is for you.
Hi! My name is Stephanie, and I'm the girl behind this blog! I'm a pastor and a writer and a lover of all things chocolate. As you browse the content on this page, I hope you find yourself encouraged and smiling. At some moments, perhaps you would even shed a tear or two. Most importantly, I pray you find hope in whatever season you're walking through. We are in this journey together, and my calling is to encourage you along the way!