I am a student of the Bible and have taken a couple of classes, but so much of it is beyond me. Recently, I contacted my older brother, a scholar of the Bible, and shared with him that I planned to study a section of the Bible that has always confused me. I wrote to him, “I just don’t understand it.” His reply was precious, “NO ONE DOES.” It was so comforting to realize that there are some things in the word of God that we cannot understand on our own. And, it may be that God, the creator of heaven and earth, is not planning to explain it all to me. (Big surprise!)
And, there is so much of the Christmas story that I do not understand. Today’s scripture baffles me completely: “The angel answered (Mary), ‘The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.’” (Luke 1:35) Good grief, how on earth could Mary, a “good girl,” have understood that message? It is beyond me. I can only imagine the various emotions that she could have had: fear, confusion, suspicion, joy, grief, shame…. But, instead, Mary trusted. Mary believed.
I am struggling this week with loss. A friend died just before Thanksgiving. His death made no sense; he left behind a family and friends. We celebrate his life, but I don’t understand his passing.
Then I heard Sunday of the death of the wife of my co-worker. Last Saturday, they were Christmas shopping with one of their children. She was sitting in the car, next to her husband, waiting to be waved through the gate into the Naval Air Station and the next moment she was gone. It is so strange. At 2:00 that afternoon they were entering the base. By 4:15, everything was over and my friend was back at home without his beloved wife.
I don’t understand. I cannot understand. It isn’t that I’m not trying to understand, it is that some things are beyond comprehension.
I cannot imagine Mary’s thoughts. I cannot imagine my friend’s situation. Both Mary and my friend are children of God. Both trust in Christ. Mary went on to serve the Lord and so will my friend. But, we may never understand why the events in their lives happened as they did.
I thought about writing of their stories as reminders of the need to hold those we love close. Instead, I think that I will just spend some time today reflecting on the reality that we will never understand all that is in God’s word, His plan, His love.
There is a song in our choir’s Christmas program that I cannot get out of my mind: “Every promise ever spoken made alive because He came. Chains of sin and shame are broken, by the power of His name. I believe, I believe; hope was born just for me. I believe, I believe; love has come. I believe.”
I choose to believe. And, that mustard seed-size of faith has changed my life.