How Can This Happen? Pondering, Speaking, Acting
Pondering is a word we rarely use in everyday conversation. It describes a thought process that moves past the mind to connect the heart as we think deeper about mysterious things. As a woman and a pastor of women, I want to hear Mary speak more, yet she ponders. Tell us Mary what it was like to be chosen as the mother of Jesus – to give birth to the Messiah. Tell us how to react when our children are bullied, beaten, and rejected. It is only when I take the time to ponder I am able to hear Mary’s quiet voice, “How can this happen (Luke 1:34)?” And, God speaks to me through her pondering and her questioning.
A hidden identity is something we can relate to – either others force us to stay under the radar or we hide ourselves. Could it have been a dream come true for this woman we call Esther. She, like Mary, is also chosen for a special role. At first glance in all of her beauty and 12 months of complimentary beauty treatments, I might be jealous and tempted to think of her only as pampered and favored with her special menu, seven maids, and elite living quarters. At second glance, I identify with a woman who couldn’t be who she really was and couldn’t even be with her husband unless he asked for her. I love Esther, a woman of courage, who risks her own life to save the lives of others. This is a powerful story that involves a man who has the power and authority to dismiss those he would consider beneath him, yet extends the gold scepter to a woman. As he does this, although Esther comes with a strategy and purpose, she treats him with respect and kindness. It is only when I relinquish my pride and extend a scepter to Esther, I am able to see her true identity fully released in her words, “If I must die, I must die (Esther 4:16).” And, God speaks to me through her courageous voice.
Rubies as described in Scripture, don’t compare in value to wisdom or a woman of virtue; but my dear friend, Ruby, is one of the most valuable mentors in my life. This beautiful widowed mother of two sons has laughed with me, cried with me, and prayed with me. Ruby reminds me of how God still works today through humble hands and hearts. She has handed me envelopes with cash to be distributed secretively to those in need – most often during the Christmas season. What I love about her story is she doesn’t seek a platform, yet she has one with the “least of these.” She doesn’t have a shadow mission – she’s on the real mission. This quiet woman lives out the Jesus story every day of her life with loud actions. I’ve seen her die to self in caring for a dying sister-in-law and live out her marriage vows with dignity as her husband suffered emotionally and physically. It is only when I die to self, I can begin to be a valuable Ruby in the life of someone else – someone perhaps in their darkest hour who can’t return the favor. And, God speaks to me through the sacrificial acts of a woman.
Back to Mary’s question, “How can this happen?”