If there was ever a case for fear, this was it! The angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and asked her to become the mother of the long-awaited Savior. The details? It will happen by the power of the Holy Spirit. How would we respond to this invitation? I can honestly see myself saying, “No thanks…I’m not the right person for the job,” or, “Let me get back to you in a few days.” Mary’s response? “I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). She had such trust in the will of God that she went along with the plan without knowing most of the details.
For many of us, the unknown can be a great source of anxiety. When my father was diagnosed with cancer, he was very nervous about the effects of the chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Would he feel sick? Would he become very weak? Would there be a lot of pain? His anxiety increased as he neared the date of the first chemotherapy session. When the day arrived, I sat with him as the drugs were administered and we spoke about many things. I discussed problems with my job and he offered his wise, fatherly advice. As the minutes passed and he wasn’t feeling any worse, he began to relax. Afterward, the entire family celebrated with a big lunch and a nice dessert. Once Dad knew what to expect, he was able to relax (to some extent) because the previously cloudy side effects of the treatment were now known.
While learning the facts can turn fear into peace, we are often asked to face frightening situations without knowing the facts. Illness, job loss, marriage difficulties, pregnancy, and many other occurrences are sometimes thrust upon us unexpectedly. Just like Mary, we must sometimes face an uncertain future with few or no details. The secret to experiencing peace in these situations involves trusting in God.
When faced with the unknown, we can take comfort that many, like Mary, have lived with great faith. Mary experienced uncertainty when the angel appeared, but she trusted in the Lord’s provisions. Do you find it difficult to say yes when facing an unknown future? Mary understands. Ask for her help. You’ll be amazed at how much peace you can feel once you stop trying to face your problems all by yourself.
Holy Mary, you trusted in God’s plan even when it didn’t make sense. Pray for us, that we may develop a greater trust in the Lord’s perfect will for our lives. Amen.