Over the past month or so, my head (heart?) keeps repeating the phrase, My soul doth magnify the Lord! When I am fearful, when I am scared, when I am reminded of God’s love, when I am questioning.. the response is..
“My soul doth magnify the Lord!,”
words once declared by a young, faithful girl. God had placed within her the call to be brave, to trust him wholly, to let him use the simple and ordinary to reconcile all of creation to himself.
Here it is, in context, KJV (because I’m starting to dig KJV a lot). Elizabeth speaks, and Mary responds. This is right after John started freaking out while in the womb.
And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.
And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.
God has not called me to do anything near as brave as young Mary. I’ve been thinking a lot about Mary, with this phrase being deeply embedded in my soul, and I recently realized HOW scary this was for Mary. We tend to see Mary’s decision through our own culture and times. However, this really waters down and takes beauty away from the reality she faced. Back in those times, virginity was a huge thing. After being married, the husband would bring the blood-stained sheets from their first encounter and show them to everyone as proof of her virginity; the father of the bride would KEEP those blood stained sheets for proof that she was a virgin when they married, were the question to ever come up.
If a woman was found to have not been a virgin when she was married, she could be taken outside of her father’s house and STONED TO DEATH. to death. This predicament that Mary found herself in was literally a case of life or death, not just “will Joseph marry me?” or “what will my parents think?” and yet as the Lord kept affirming her (God does not leave us to wander; I have been learning this every day) she would continually offer herself to the Lord’s service.
How blessed are we that God trusted a simple young girl with this magnificent calling! How blessed was Mary that she trusted God, getting to be a BEAUTIFUL display of faith for the children of her child.
On Monday I wrote a letter to someone and I was so honest about where I was at spiritually. Honest in ways I rarely am, about how I have put all of my faith and hope and trust in the Lord and although I COMPLETELY and WHOLE HEARTEDLY believe that God is my Sustainer, my Provider, my Comforter, my Protector, my Everything….. there is this little tiny nagging fear deep within that faith that says “…but what if he leaves me?” and I cannot process this, and I think I shall die if God has left me alone. I will have no hope for anything, nothing to live for, no peace or joy, no comfort, nothing. and the only response I can think of is to wander into the wilderness, and scream the life out of myself.
Those words run the risk of people finding humor in them, but I assure you it is no laughing matter. Without the Lord, I am nothing. I have nothing. If he deserts me: abandons me: forsakes me, I do not know if I would be able to believe he exists. Last night I was discussing this with the Lord again, and in the midst of my tears shared a little chuckle at how I was telling God I might not believe he exists (I then read Donald Miller echoing that exact same statement in Searching For God Knows What, which made me laugh again).
God has been showing up. He’s not been filling those superficial, temporary needs. But he has been smashing my fear into tiny little pieces, giving me no reason to continue fearing he will leave me. Yet I am still so unbelieving and daily encounter this doubt. But God keeps showing up.
Every time he does, every time he makes himself undoubtedly known to me, I want to stretch my hands out, lift my head to the sky and yell,
My soul doth magnify the Lord!