Struggle Strategizer: Mary, the mother of Jesus
Are you ready and willing for God to work?
Easter isn’t just a yearly celebration. Easter is a reminder that Jesus can bring what is dead back to life! Easter is a reminder that Jesus can bring purpose out of pain! Easter isn’t over. Jesus is ready to resurrect the broken pieces of your life. This doesn’t necessarily mean complete healing, stability, or comfort, but he can help you be shaped by these struggles! All you have to do is say “Ok. Lord. I want to watch you work.” The connection may seem slow or full of static, but he is always working! Remembers, a conversation isn’t over because someone takes a breath!
How to Experience Purpose in Pain:
- Identify yourself as the Lord’s servant
- Say YES to God’s call.
- Acknowledge that God has and will continue to use women to fulfill his purposes.
- Acknowledge the pain Jesus experienced on the cross and the purpose for that pain.
This is not a formula for a struggle free life. Following these four steps does not promise a life without suffering. These four steps do not lead to prosperity. These four steps are a guide to help you recognize how God can work in your life. I do not know what that work will look like or how long that process will be, but I know that he can bring purpose from pain because of the examples given in his word.
The first step to finding purpose in pain is deciding to be a servant of Christ.
Where, what, and who we tie our identity too determines how we live our lives. Mary had to evaluate whose she was in order to fulfill God’s purpose for her life. Above all titles, she was a servant of the Lord. She was also a teenage girl; who was in love and engaged. However, Mary quickly become a mother. (Matthew 1:18) Who you are can change very quickly. Mary adopted a new identity without much notice. Whose she was did not change because Mary said yes to God’s plan. What was Mary thinking, what was she feeling, and did Mary have a choice?
Really, did Mary have a choice to carry Jesus? Some people may not like this question. I’m all for women being treated equally, respectfully, and fairly, but have you ever asked yourself did Mary have a choice? Feminists may get at me and say an angel shouldn’t tell a woman she will become pregnant, but I didn’t write the story. I’m genuinely asking this question for all of us to reflect on. Gabriel didn’t say “Hey Mary, do you want to carry the son of God? Do you want to become pregnant before you are married? Do you want to experience other’s ridicule and judgement?” He said this will happen to you. You will carry the son of God, and Mary said “Yes, I’m in” (Luke 1:26-38). In fact, she identified herself as the Lord’s servant, and then said Yes, let it happen. I believe Mary chose to carry God’s son because we have free will, and she responds to Gabriel willingly. Yes, she was chosen, but she also had to chose to say yes. Our connection with God allows us to experience purpose in pain
If Jesus wasn’t God’s son, he would have been a misunderstood man, a crucified man, and a dead man without every experiencing resurrection.
The second step to finding purpose in pain is saying yes to God’s call.
Immanuel, translated to God with us, was with Mary in the struggle. God is with you in your struggle. Last year, I developed a movement disorder. The symptoms I expereinced made it nearly impossible for me to connect with God how I normally would. I felt that my access to God was cut off by these symptoms, and I became angry. However, I later realized God never stopped communicating with me.
During great struggles, God still speaks. It may be a whisper, and he may speak through someone else, but a conversation is not over because someone takes a breath.
The third step to finding purpose in pain is acknowledging that God allows women to fulfill his purpose for the world.
There was a purpose to Mary’s pain. There was a purpose to the pain she experienced from other’s judgements, to giving birth, and everything in-between. There was a purpose to Jesus’ pain as well. The fact that God used a human being to carry out his purpose demonstrates that your pain has purpose. Your pain has purpose because Mary’s pain had purpose. Your pain has purpose because Jesus’ death and resurrection fulfilled that purpose. Mary didn’t know it at the time, but God’s purpose for her was fulfilled when he was nailed to the cross.
The fourth step to finding purpose in pain is acknowledging that the cross has a purpose, and that purpose involves you.
God can’t bring beauty from pain without ashes. Ultimately, we can only experience purpose because Jesus died and resurrected. Jesus asked if there was any other way for the father to fulfill his purpose for you and the rest of humanity. Jesus chose to step into pain, just like Mary, so that you could experience purpose in pain as well (Matthew 26:36-46). Jesus died to pay for the sins of the world (Romans 3:23-25). Liberation for you and me was the purpose for his pain, and he wants to continue to liberate you. I don’t know the specific struggle your experiencing, but I know Jesus died to resurrect you more than once.
Jesus died so that you could continually be resurrected and experience purpose in pain, just like he did.
Remember, God is not limited to our sense of time. He will turn these ashes into beauty in his time. Your transformation is not meant to be compared to your sister’s transformation or your best friend’s transformation. Be patient, be gracious to yourself, and remember there is purpose in this struggle.
Never Give Up,