I contributed this brief article to Gentle Leading’s Mama Advent Devotional, an email series for moms about how the coming of Christ fulfills a longing we experience in motherhood. It’s not too late to sign up!
Mary, the mother of Jesus, was minding her own business when a fearful thing happened: She was visited by an angel of the Lord with extraordinary news.
And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:30–33)
Mary was overwhelmed by such a divine visitation (v. 29), let alone by the astonishing news that she would carry God’s Son in her womb. This would be a miracle of undeserved grace, and an exercise of her trust in God. I wonder about the questions that might have crossed her mind: What would her family think when she was suddenly pregnant? What would Joseph think? What would it look like to raise God’s Son?
In our longing to be free from fear, we can take Mary’s story to heart. God hasn’t spoken to us by an angel, but he has spoken to us through Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:2). The baby he conceived in Mary’s womb is the Savior and Lord who frees us from fear and calls us to trust.
What fears are weighing on your mind right now? Maybe it’s your kids’ safety and wellbeing. Maybe it’s your own fear of getting sick this winter and having to mother through it. Maybe you’re wondering what your kids will think when the gifts under the tree are few this year. Maybe you struggle with the fear of inadequacy and failure, or the fear of being judged by others.
Me too, Momma. I long to be free from these fears, to live day-by-day, moment-by-moment with a deepening trust in God’s character and heart. The good news is that God says to us what he said to Mary: “Do not be afraid.” We see in her story three truths that will increasingly free us from fear.
God gives us amazing grace in Jesus Christ
“For you have found favor with God” (v. 30). God’s grace is his abundant kindness to undeserving, fearful sinners. Mary was a sinful human, like each of us, but God chose her and drew her near. Her troubled reaction to his awesome presence turned into reverence and obedience, as she responded, “I am the servant of the Lord” (v. 38).
Every day, we have the amazing opportunity to draw near to the God of the universe, as he shows us our need to be in right relationship with him––and he sent his only Son, Jesus, to earth to make this miracle possible. Though we don’t deserve such kindness, Jesus came into the world to rescue sinners and free us from the most fearful of fears: the wrath of God, which he suffered on the cross for our sin.
Momma, when you receive God’s lavish grace, you are freed from fear in its greatest sense: You will never know God’s just, fearful wrath because Jesus took it for you. In him, you find favor with God.
God gives us supernatural strength in Jesus Christ
“He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High” (v. 32). Before his work on the cross, Jesus lived a normal, human life. He faced all the temptations we face––yet was without sin (Hebrews 4:15). And when the Son of God humbled himself to the point of death on a cross, he didn’t stay there: He disarmed death by triumphing over it through resurrection. Once a weak and dependent baby born in a stable, Jesus showcased his divine strength when he rose from the grave and went to his Father’s side in glory. Death’s accusations were no match for the Son’s perfect goodness.
What an incredible solace—that Jesus sympathizes with us in every way, that he walked the same human life we walk––and that his perfect, sinless, death-defeating record can become ours by faith. Not only this, but he continues to serve us by praying for us in heaven (Romans 8:34), and he gives us power and wisdom through his Spirit, who dwells in us and helps us when we’re weak, weary, and fearful.
Momma, as you depend on Jesus’ strength and learn, by his Spirit, what it looks like to trust him, you will be increasingly freed from your fears.
God gives us eternal hope in Jesus Christ
“Of his kingdom there will be no end” (v. 33). What Jesus has accomplished for us is an everlasting work that stretches beyond this life and into eternity. He’s secured for us an inheritance that far surpasses earthly riches; a place at God’s table—which never lacks a thing; restored relationships with our brothers and sisters; the removal of all pain and suffering; and perfectly pure, undistracted, fearless hearts that will live to gaze upon the face of their Savior.
Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. (Hebrews 2:14–15)
Jesus is our hope in the midst of our fears, and he’s our hope beyond them. Momma, as you struggle with fear, and even if your worst fears come to pass, he will walk with you through them. He will remind you of your deliverance from the fear of death. He will carry you in his strength. He will teach you how to trust him. And he will increase your longing for the day when fear itself will be banished in his glorious presence.
“Do not be afraid.” Receive the favor of God by faith, and the Son of the Most High will be with you, now and forever.
[Post Credit: Gentle Leading | Photo Credit: Jessica Lewis from Pexels]