A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Stepping out in Faith

Posted on: April 8, 2013

I remember when my family doctor confirmed that my husband and I had a baby on the way. Reality began to sink in. Time to start thinking about a nursery and baby needs, choosing a name for our child, and sharing our good news with family and friends.

As we mark the Feast of the Annunciation, I think about how different the situation was for “a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary” (Luke 1:27*).

Even though he said the Lord was with her, the angel Gabriel’s sudden appearance must have frightened Mary. It must have startled her to hear that, though still a virgin, she would conceive a child through the power of the Holy Spirit. A child who would be the Son of God. And Mary had to know that telling her future husband, Joseph, and facing the harsh response of her community would be hard. She still stepped out in faith and said yes: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).

I am awed by Mary’s trust in God and her willingness to do what he asked of her despite the challenges she knew lay ahead (as well as those she could not have foreseen).

And I wonder whether I’ve missed out on opportunities to do things God wanted me to because I wasn’t listening—and whether I would have been willing and brave enough to do them.

But I know that God “remembers that we are dust” (Psalms 103:14). He knows that we are human and is willing to reach us where we are.

Just think about God’s patience and encouragement in dealing with those he had called who were not so quick to say yes, such as Moses, who was reluctant to return to Egypt in order to bring Israel out of that country (see Exodus 3-4); Gideon, who was uncertain about leading Israel to freedom from the Midianites (see Judges 6); and Ananias, who was afraid to go to Saul, the future apostle Paul (see Acts 9).

Think about God’s words in Joshua 1:9 as Moses’ successor prepared to lead Israel into the Promised Land: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; be not frightened, neither be dismayed; for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

Think about God’s message for the exiles in Babylon, in Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

And think about Paul’s words of encouragement to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:7: “(F)or God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control.”

I pray that we would learn to listen for God’s voice, to take courage from his faithful care for us, and to trust in his plans for us.

(*Quotes from the Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition)

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Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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