July 6

Mary, Part 4

Luke 2:19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.

Luke 2:51 Then [Jesus] went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart.

Mary seems to have had deep feelings and thoughts throughout her life on everything connected with Jesus. That’s only to be expected for one chosen to be the mother of the Messiah.

Sometimes what we don’t see or read in Scripture is often as important as what we do. We don’t see Gabriel asking Mary how she felt about the situation God was presenting her with. We don’t see him “floating the idea” to Mary. We don’t even see him initiating a dialogue or asking her how she felt about what he was bringing from God. He doesn’t even try to convince her to respond a certain way. He simply came and announced what God was going to do.

The scriptures above from Luke paint a picture of a thoughtful woman and a tender heart. Yet nowhere do we see Mary sorting through her feelings before declaring herself “the handmaiden of the Lord.” She came to no emotional conclusion before receiving God’s call. It’s clear that while she had many feelings, working through those feelings was a task to do after saying yes to God.

In our society, a huge percentage of discussion in the media involves how people feel about things—when they won a race, when they lost a race, when someone disappointed them, when a victory was gained. Reality shows spend an inordinate amount of time giving place to people talking about how they feel (doing them a great disservice by focusing on something so ephemeral and adding unnecessary weight to sentiments that might not be important, or worse, could be very unhelpful to their own personal journeys). We can receive the mistaken impression that fully expressing and working through all of our feelings is a prerequisite to doing anything.

Of course, feelings are important. Many of them are from God, and are meant to bless us, keep us safe, and help us walk in wisdom. Some feelings are manipulations from other people; others are attacks from the enemy. We should therefore never let our feelings direct us or be our masters. They can be guides to problems we need to fix, or areas that need God’s touch, much like pain can help locate where the healing is needed.

As noted in yesterday’s devotional, Mary was poised to do the will of God, no matter what it might involve. That spiritual position is actually the best context to have around our feelings, as being ready to do His will positions us to deal in wisdom with every manner of feeling we might have. It helps us discern what is to be enjoyed, what is to be brought before God, and what is to be resisted. Feelings should never lead us, but they can be a great joy in the wake of our obedience.

Prayer: Lord, my feelings can tempt me into unhealthy directions at times. Help me to put them in their proper place in my life, enjoying what You want me to, and having Your wisdom to know what to do with the rest.

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