I’m sitting down to write this devotion on the 8 year anniversary of my mother’s passing. It’s a day that always stirs many different emotions in me. I think back on her creativity, love, and care. I think back on the way she guided me and challenged me. I think of all the sacred moments we shared. I also think back on the phone call from my dad telling me that she’d passed away. Even though she was sick and declining, I’m not sure you’re ever quite ready for that phone call. As those words tumbled off my dad’s tongue, I was met with sorrow mixed with the helplessness that I’d never felt before. There was nothing I could do, I had to accept that my mom’s life on this earth was over.

When Mary heard the announcement from the angel telling her she was pregnant even though she was a virgin, she responded, “let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38) It was the same thing I had to say to my dad that December morning, “let it be.” There’s nothing I could do to fight it. The hard part about saying, “let it be” is that we have to come to terms with what will never be. There is a surrender that’s built into that phrase because, in many ways, surrender is coming to terms with the death of a dream.

What does Mary surrender when she says, “let it be?” First, she surrendered her plans for her life. Who knows what dreams Mary had for her life, but we can rest assured becoming pregnant as a virgin and giving birth to the Messiah was not one of them. While we view that now as a great blessing, for her it stirred feelings of fear, not favor. Second, when Mary said “let it be” she was giving up any ability she has over what we might call image management. She couldn’t control the narrative; what people are going to say, how they’re going to react, the sideways glances, and the whispers underneath a breath. People were going to think negatively about her and there was nothing she could do about it. Finally, she knew that she couldn’t control the timing. If I’m Mary, I might have said, “Yes, God, I will bear the Messiah… but please let me get married first.” No, the timing and the direction are all in God’s hands.

Surrender means entrusting the plan, the response of others, the timing, and the results to God – which is why it requires coming to terms with what will never be. I wonder what things God is inviting you to surrender? How do you try to control the plan, your image, or the timing of things? Maybe today Jesus is inviting you to embrace his sufficiency through surrender. I know firsthand that it’s not easy to pray, “let it be.” But I also know that there is a strength God gives as we surrender to him. I pray that as you surrender, you experience his sufficiency.

Pastor Ryan Paulson
Lead Pastor

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