By Carol Becker
And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his Mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;
(Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.
The layoff notice arrives
The word cancer is spoken
The friendship falls apart
The wayward child continues to wander
The death of a loved one leaves an aching void
And the sword pierces. Stabs. Twists.
And we question our survival.
As Jewish custom dictated, Joseph and Mary presented Jesus at the Temple for His consecration. Simeon, who faithfully served in the Temple, was present for this happy family occasion. This ceremony had been performed thousands of times for many families; yet when Simeon saw Jesus he knew this day, this child, was special. God had promised Simeon that he would see the Messiah before he died. Simeon praised God for keeping His promise in allowing him to see the Messiah and for the salvation He would bring. Then Simeon directed his words toward Mary, telling her of the divine purpose of her Son’s life. He then spoke of the pain she would suffer as a result of this divine purpose.
The sword that would pierce her Mother’s heart.
The whispers of gossip. The scorn of long time friends and family. The rejection of Jesus by His own brothers. The desertion of His closest friends in His greatest hour of need. The realization of her own helplessness. The death of her Son.
And the sword pierced. Stabbed. Twisted.
And Mary survived. She survived because of her faith in God.
1. Mary had faith in God’s Timing.
To say that Mary’s world was turned upside down by the news the angel Gabriel brought her would be an understatement. How did Mary react to the life changing revelation that she, a young virgin, would give birth to the Messiah? In Luke 1:46-55 Mary sings a song of praise for God’s goodness to her and all mankind who would be blessed by the coming of her Son.
When circumstances alter our course, we can put our faith in God and trust His timing. Psalms 31:14-15 “But I trusted in thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my God. My times are in thy hand… “Nothing that happens in our lives takes Him by surprise. We can rest knowing that God’s timing is perfect and is accomplishing His purpose in our lives.
2. Mary had faith in God’s Plan.
Luke 2:41-51 gives us a glimpse of Jesus’ family life when He was twelve. After visiting Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover, Joseph and Mary discovered Jesus was not with them as they returned to their home. They went back to Jerusalem to find Jesus teaching in the Temple. Mary asked her Son why He had done this, no doubt scaring them this way. He replied that He was doing His Father’s business. He was doing what God sent Him to do. We then see Mary’s humble response to the gentle reminder from her Son. Luke 2:51, ” …but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.” Mary trusted God’s plan not only for her life, but for her Son’s as well.
Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” What encouragement to know that what God allows in our lives is for our ultimate good. God’s work in our lives is never random. Knowing how much He loves us, we can rest our faith in His plan.
3. Mary had faith in God’s Power.
Before her Son had ever performed one miracle Mary had faith in God’s power. John 2:1-11 tells a story of a wedding celebration that Mary and Jesus were attending. After running out of refreshments, Mary wanted to help save her friends from embarrassment so she turns to her Son. She knew he had the power to take care of the situation. Jesus again reminds His Mother about God’s purpose for His life, and again we see Mary’s humble response. She no longer tried to control the situation. John 2:5, “His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.” She stepped back and put her faith in God’s power.
How many times do we try to manipulate our own situations, working in our own power?
I Corinthians 2:5, “That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of
God.” As we view our problems through the lens of God’s power the situation becomes clear. Our problems are beyond our power, but no match to the power of God.
And the sword pierced Mary as she no doubt faced ridicule and her Son was rejected.
And the sword stabbed Mary as even her other sons rejected their half brother. But then we see in Acts 1:14 that they are with Mary in one accord in prayer. They believed in Jesus as their Savior. God honored Mary’s faith. He healed the pierce of the sword.
And the sword twisted as Mary watched her Son being tortured and then crucified between two thieves. How great Mary’s agony must have been. But how great her joy when three day later Jesus rose from the dead! God avenged the sword!
We, like Mary, face our own swords that pierce our souls with questions, doubts, and sorrows. As long as we focus on the sword, we remain defeated. When we choose to place our faith in God, in His timing, in His plan, and in His power, God enables us not only to survive the sword but to claim victory through faith.