A Courageous Journey
We all know the courageous journey Mary and Joseph took to Bethlehem for the census Caesar Augustus had issued right before she was going to give birth to Jesus. However, did you know that Mary took more than one courageous journey during her lifetime? Journeys that not only deeply moved her with compassion and devotion to God but helped her discover her faith on a much deeper level.
According to biblical commentary, after Mary had been visited by the Angel to tell her, “You have found favour with God. Listen, you are going to become pregnant. You will have a son, and you must name him ‘Saviour’, or Jesus.” [Luke 1:30-32] The journey Mary took to visit her cousins, Elizabeth, and Zacharias, was a courageous one. Although it is possible her family made sure she travelled with a caravan of people so she wasn’t alone, the threat of bandits along the roads toward the hill country of Judea would have overshadowed Mary’s safety. But regardless of the dangers, Mary decided to go.
When Mary arrived safely at Elizabeth’s house and the two women greeted each other, the baby in Elizabeth’s womb jumped for joy which caused Elizabeth to say, “Mary! You are a woman given the highest favour and privilege above all others. For your child is destined to bring God’s great delight. How did I deserve such a remarkable honour to have the mother of my Lord come visit me, my baby danced inside me with ecstatic joy! Great favour is upon you, for you have believed every word spoken to you from the Lord.’ [Luke 1:42-45]
It’s interesting to note that Mary’s first courageous journey led her to a woman prophesying over her. The biblical text says, ‘With a loud voice she prophesied with power.’ See, that’s the thing about stepping out and starting your courageous journey, He’ll lead you to others who can speak life over you and cut through the fog and confusion of your doubts and insecurities like a knife through butter. They see things in you that you struggle to grasp yourself. As my friend says, “You can’t read the label when you’re inside the jar.” That is so true!
A prophetic word means someone is reading the label on your calling because they see what God sees. They view you from a different perspective. They know God’s hand is on your life and speak encouragement over you. Their words touch your soul on a spiritual level, getting right under your skin as they work their way into your faith, awakening you and strengthening you for the promises God has given to you.
The next courageous journey for Mary, as I previously mentioned, was the journey to Bethlehem for the Census. Again, it involved an angelic messenger, but this time more people spoke of the story that was unfolding. “Let’s rush down to Bethlehem right now! Let’s see what’s happening! Let’s experience what the Lord has told us about! After they saw the baby, they spread the story of what they had experienced and what had been said to them about this child. Everyone who heard their story couldn’t stop thinking about its meaning. Mary too, pondered all of these events, treasuring each memory in her heart.’ [Luke 2:15-19]
God sends provision when you take the first few steps in your courageous journey. Mary’s journey so far was a miracle in the making and her story continued to draw others to see what she’d given birth to. Of course, we are not Mary, the one chosen to birth the Saviour of the world. However, if you’re a believer, Jesus lives inside your heart and He helps give birth to the calling that has been placed on your life. When you listen to His leading and step out on your courageous journey, He provides for you every step of the way.
Mary would never have envisioned an innkeeper providing a stable, the whole of the heavenly host announcing the birth of a Saviour, shepherds bringing their lambs, and later on, three wise men offering such extravagant gifts of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh to honour the birth of her baby. This is an encouragement for you to understand if God has called you to something, He will always provide provision for the journey.
And finally, the last courageous journey Mary embarked on was one filled with sorrow and grief. This journey followed her Son to the cross at Golgotha. Being a mother myself, thoughts of watching your son die an agonising death are too much to comprehend. And yet, Mary stood resolute, steadfast, and unmoveable until Jesus took His final breath and announced, “It is finished.”
For Mary, her calling was what helped her step along her courageous journey. She knew her purpose within the epic story of Christmas was bigger than herself. I’m sure she was deeply moved by each encounter, each revelation, and each step she took, following Jesus until the journey’s end.
The call came when she least expected it, however, she was obedient to the call and trusted God with each step. Once she committed to the courageous journey God had asked her to embark on, there would be no turning back. Obedience and surrender were the keys to the amazing part she needed to play in the story.
Perhaps on this Christmas day, think of Mary embarking on her courageous journey and take a moment to reflect if she hadn’t said a simple “yes”. See, that’s all it takes to start your courageous journey, a simple “yes”. Because, as I always tell my friend, “You just never know where a ‘yes’ can take you.”
Faith and adventure go hand in hand. All it takes is one bold move forward, one faith-filled step toward your calling because God uses the most unlikely people to embark on courageous journeys with Him. Just ask Mary!
Have a very merry Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year.
Where is God asking you to embark on a courageous journey? Has this blog post stirred up your courage to take the first step?