Here is a short meditation Emily wrote about the joy of acceptance when following Jesus. It can only ever be sourced from a firm faith in a good God who is worthy of trust at all times.
“Behold me, here I am; thy little handmaiden Acceptance-with-Joy and all that is in my heart is thine.” – Hinds Feet on High Places
I was struck by the response of Mary, the mother of Jesus, recently. Her words in response to the angel visiting her were very similar to that of the quote above. “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” They are both statements of surrender and of trust.
We think in our own context that this request to be the mother of Jesus was a privilege, an honor or simply a surprise. But Mary’s questions and response show us that she knew very well what she was signing up for… and it wasn’t honor. It was shame. She knew that having a baby before she was married would drastically change the trajectory of her life.
“How can this be since I have been with no man?” This was a much deeper question that just… “How does getting pregnant work?”. This is Mary, expressing her purity, her choice to live an honorable life before her betrothed and yet carry the son on God in her womb? How is it possible? And by her response “I am your servant…” we see that she was accepting the implications of being His servant. By giving her life to be used by God, she was agreeing to let her pure, holy, upstanding reputation be put to shame. She was allowing God to give her the gift of this baby… AND to give her a gift of suffering to go along.
This is what I’d like to refer as “The Gift of Acceptance”. Like the beloved book “Hinds Feet on High Places” and Mary’s story, letting God change their lives was made of pain and sorrow – but ALL while allowing God to move into their lives. Could it be that God wants us all to respond like these trusting women with open hands and accept with joy whatever form of Himself he sets in the palm of our hands?
Do we see obedience to Jesus more important than our comfort? Because we will one day come face to face with the reality that following Jesus will mean shame and sorrow (a cross). Is He worth it? What things might end up being a sacrifice to be called His Own?
- Exhorting a friend with truth
- Turning your eyes away from darkness in a room of friends who welcome it
- Fasting from worldly desires in order to gain heavenly ones
These are small examples of ways you may have to accept with joy the task of following Jesus. I pray friend, that as you approach new ways of obedience to Christ He would give you the same eyes as Mary to accept with joy that precious, precious gift. The sorrow that brings forth everlasting life! And oh He is worth it!