Say Yes

Say Yes

It is December first, and the countdown to Christmas has begun. In twenty-five days, people around the world will be celebrating something. They will prepare for this day with food and gifts shared with family and friends. Many will not even think about what this day represents. Those who know Jesus as their Savior will celebrate His birth. But, do we understand what Jesus’ yes meant over 2000 years ago and still means for all of us? Can we lay down our lives for God’s call? 

Have you ever wrestled with a request from God? What was the result? Did you choose obedience to Him and say yes? Did you trust He was in control?

Mary, a young woman betrothed to be married, finds herself pregnant with the Son of God. It was no accident that her contract for marriage was at this time, in this place, and to Joseph. God promised the Saviour would be born of the line of King David in Bethlehem.  And God knew she was the only one who could carry out this arduous assignment, because she possessed the faith and humility needed to walk the path He had destined for her.

In Isaiah 7:14, the word of God came forth regarding these things. “Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son and shall call His name Immanuel.”

Whatever she was thinking or feeling, Mary did not hesitate to be obedient to God’s call.  “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38, was her quick response.  If only we had the same response whenever God called us to a mission!  

All too often when we get presented with requests from the Lord, we hesitate, weigh all our options, make pro con lists, consult our friends and mentors, and hesitate to accept. We ask Him to tell us His plan, and then ask for confirmation that we heard correctly, when we know we have. And this will go on until we realize that when God calls our name we need to answer immediately in obedience.

The angel told Mary not to be afraid, as she had found favor with God. Luke 1:30.  She did not ask for time to think it over, or consult anyone. She asked one question. The angel’s response was, “For with God nothing is impossible.” Luke 1:37. Instantly she said yes. 

As sons and daughters of God, we need to trust Him and give no thought to the what-ifs, or the details that will follow. He is the one who knows the entire story, while we can only see what is in front of us. Saying yes is the obedience He wants from us.

Another perfect example of this kind of faith and trust was Joseph.  While he had the right to divorce Mary, or publicly shame her, he did neither.  He followed the directions from the angel of the Lord and took her and her unborn child as his own.  He did not question the instructions God gave him. He simply said yes.  

Mary and Joseph had plans.  They were preparing to be married, dreaming of what their new life would be like, the children they would have, where they would live.  It was a happy, joyous time for them.  God stepped in and turned everything upside down.  They were now pregnant before the marriage ceremony with a baby that was not conceived through their union. How frightening that must have been.  They had no idea what life was going to look like from that point on.

Mary and Joseph could have chosen to continue with their plans, but they accepted God’s call. They stepped out in faith. Have you ever held back from taking a step of faith because it was going to change your plans or you feared the outcome?

Recently, I had a choice to make. It did not come as quickly as those mentioned here. What God wanted would change my plans. Instead of walking in faith, I stalled. Because of that doubt, I experienced much emotional pain. The pain came from the struggle and stress I put on myself because of my indecision.

One evening, feeling despondent, I grabbed my dog and took a walk. For weeks, I had been sensing the Spirit telling me exactly what I needed to do. I was fighting it, questioning, hesitating to do what I knew I should. He told me what he wanted, but I was not accepting. 

Half way through the walk, I surrendered. I chose to lay myself down and relinquish the situation to my Holy, Almighty Father. 

Instantly, I felt the deepest, most calming peace wash over me like a gentle rain in summer. I felt JOY like never before. I shared this with a friend who told me she was reading a book in which the author had just described the same thing. It was all the confirmation I needed.

Forward to the birth of this baby. The angel appears again. This time he comes to lowly shepherds watching their sheep at night. He says to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great JOY which will be to all people.” Luke 2:10. After giving instructions to where they would find the babe, an entourage of angels appeared singing praises to God and proclaiming peace. What did the shepherds do? They simply said yes. And after they found baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph, they told everyone they could. Then they returned to their lives “praising God.” Luke 2:15-20 (paraphrased)

Along came the wise men. They traveled a great distance to see Jesus, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” Matthew 2:2. 

Herod asked the wise men to return to him with the details once they found the Child, so he could worship Him also. They did not know he was lying, but God did. The star led them directly to the spot where Jesus and his parents lived. “When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great JOY.” Matthew 2:10. They visited, worshiped and presented valuable gifts to Jesus.

The angel of the Lord then appeared to Joseph in a dream, telling him to take his family to Egypt because Herod was planning to kill Jesus. There they stayed until Herod’s death. This fulfilled the prophecy of Hosea, “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son. Hosea 11:1

None of those mentioned here asked for proof of a good outcome. They walked by faith, not by sight. They did not ask why or what-if. They trusted. They kept their hope in the Lord without hesitation.

Mary did not question God’s choice in her or doubt that His will could be accomplished.  Joseph did not hesitate when the Angel of the Lord told him he could believe Mary’s story.  They both accepted His calling and brought forth our Savior. Then there were the shepherds, wise men and Joseph again, all yielding their plans to God. Their yeses brought forth the greatest JOY we can know, Jesus Christ and His promise of salvation. Their yeses were the obedience God wants us to have. As you go through these twenty-five days, I hope you meditate on these things. When Jesus calls will you answer with an unequivocal yes?

Father God, as we go through this season to prepare for the celebration of Jesus’ birth, I pray we remember His yes for us. And that we accept Your call on our lives with the faith, trust and hope that those who walked before us had. May our answers to You always be yes and Amen, in Jesus’ name.

Janice S.