Saying No to God


Luke 1: 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant[f] of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

All week I have been pondering the stories of Zechariah, Elizabeth and Mary in the Gospel of Luke.  I have been struck by several things:

  • that our scriptures tell us that in their encounters with the Angel, that Zechariah lost his voice when he questioned the Angel, and Mary gained her voice when she questioned the Angel,
  • that the whole of our stories of Jesus’ birth and the incarnation of God in this world rests on two women – Elizabeth and Mary, and
  • How hard it would be to live the life of these two women.

I have been pondering the courage it would take for both of these women, especially Mary.  Last week I wrote about the courage it takes to say ‘yes’ to God.

And one of you pushed back just a teensy bit and got me thinking.  One of you said, basically, “Could Mary have said ‘no’?”  OOOOHHHHHH Good question.

Because, of course, there aren’t many circumstances where Mary could say “no”.  Mary didn’t have that kind of choice in her world.  So, all of this begs the question, what would’ve happened if Mary did say no to the Angel.

You see, I think I would’ve said ‘no’.

I would have because I would know the risk that I was taking by saying ‘yes’.  I know that I would’ve faced a life of difficulty and uncertainty by bearing this child.  I know that I would’ve faced the profound grief and loss when the baby I carried became that adult who was condemned.  And I don’t have that kind of guts.   Because sometimes saying “yes’ to God and facing the consequences asks far more than I think I am actually capable of, and I have never faced this moment that Mary had.  I want people to think that I lead a life of wisdom and integrity and if God asks me to do something that calls either of those things into question, well, I am not entirely sure that I could do what God asked.

You see, I know that God loves me.  I know that God would offer me forgiveness and another opportunity if I needed it.  I’m not sure that the world around me does.  Most of you do, and that gives me great comfort and joy, but, there are people who have and would call my life into question given half a shot.  I know this, because they have.  I know this because the very few times I have felt compelled to follow God instead of what people around me expect, then there have been consequences.  Consequences that have meant the loss of relationships.  Consequences that have meant the loss of trust.  Consequences for me, and those that I love the most.

I don’t know if Mary could’ve said “no” to the Angel and “no” to God.  I do believe that her “yes” was with eyes opened to the consequences.  And she, still could say “Let it be to me according to your word”.

And that birthed our salvation.  And I am so grateful.

Blessings today and remember you are Loved,

Rev. Lynne


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