By Tyshawn Gardner, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Biblical and Religious Studies, Samford University
Submission to God in Place of Fear
Don’t fear the unknown. (26–29)
Children can possess an unappeasable fear of the dark, so sleeping with the lights on is a universal request. Although most of us grow out of sleeping with the lights on and overcome our fear of the dark, we never quite transcend our fear of the unknown.
However, in adulthood we can draw from the lessons that helped us sleep in the dark in our childhood.
As adults we can live in the light of God’s presence and God’s word to help us find rest in the unknown dark places of life.
Upon hearing she would bear the Son of the Most High, Mary’s first reaction was fear of the unknown. She asked, “How will this be?”
Mary found courage and peace in the light of God’s word from the angel.
When we face unknown situations, whether sickness, a new job, a change in our relationships or a new ministry opportunity, we can find comfort in the light of God’s word.
Since He is all knowing, our faith in Him puts fear of the unknown to rest.
Fear of the unknown may produce disobedience to God’s instruction or create the temptation to rely on our own methods and strength.
Submission to God in place of fear produces obedience and reliance on God.
Don’t fear God’s plan for you. (30–33)
Just as God had plans for Mary, He has plans for us. We don’t need to fear His plans. He desires us to be part of His redemptive plans, so He provides all we need to fulfill His plans.
Mary was young and inexperienced. Many of us fear God’s plans because of our inadequacies and shortcomings.
Throughout the Bible, God teaches us He can use young and inexperienced people who have inadequacies. In addition to the young virgin Mary, God used other people in their youth, including Joseph, Jeremiah, Joshua, Esther and Jesus. All these people realized they were a part of God’s plan, and they obeyed without fear. The phrase “Do not be afraid” appears several times in the birth narrative: to Zechariah (Luke 1:13), to Mary (v. 30), to Joseph (Matt. 1:20) and to the shepherds (Luke 2:10). Don’t fear God’s plan for you.
Don’t fear the seemingly impossible. (34–38)
Along with the unknown, we may fear the seemingly impossible. Sometimes when we reflect on our limitations and shortcomings, we fear it is impossible to do what God calls us to do. However, this is precisely when He desires to use us so His glory can be seen. God can do what is impossible for us to do. There are no impossibilities with God and when He lives in us, we can also do what seems impossible.
Paul wrote, “Now unto Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Eph. 3:20).
Mary’s youth and inexperience were not too difficult for God. The angel assured her, “For nothing will be impossible with God.” Examples abound both in the Bible and in our own world of God doing the impossible through men and women who commit to doing His will.
May the Lord fill us with His light and give us courage as we put away fear to focus on His plan.