Have you ever felt like the joy of the Christmas season is so opposite how you feel that it highlights your own difficulties and suffering? We get it. Take a look at Mary’s real story today.
What kind of hardships did Mary face? And how did this young woman keep believing what God told her in the midst of incredible suffering? That’s what Joy Summers (CJ & Joy) and Tim Mackie (The Bible Project) beautifully unpack in today’s video.
On the go or want to go deeper? Listen to the uncut interview in the World’s Biggest Small Group podcast!
Tim: “Mary’s story is so traumatic… If this happened to a friend of yours, they would be in counseling… What a remarkable story of somebody’s faithfulness in such incredible trauma.”
Joy: “As a Christian, I just really struggle sometimes that God can bring a blessing through a road of trial and difficulty. How do you think the story of Mary shows that to people who are really struggling and thinking, “God where are you in this?”
Tim: “What the story is trying to tell us is, actually, that was a moment in history that God was most present. In fact, He became physically present through Mary’s birth canal into the world! That’s a remarkable thing to claim and to believe – that it’s actually in our greatest suffering, God’s felt absence may be the circumstance for his most personal presence in our own stories.
No one else can recommend that to another person. You can’t just tell your friend, “Hey, chin up! God’s with you!” That’s something each of us have to discover on our own and that’s something Mary had to discover on her own. But I think that is the power of her suffering and her story. It was God physically present in her life through such trauma. It’s a lot to ponder… We just need to honor her. What a remarkable woman and and what a remarkable story.”
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, 27 to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. 28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”
29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean.30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God!31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”
34 Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”
35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. 36 What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. 37 For the word of God will never fail.”
38 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.
Luke 1:26-38 (New Living Translation)