I Am the Lord’s Servant
“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! For he took notice of his lowly servant girl, and from now on all generations will call me blessed. For the Mighty One is holy, and he has done great things for me. He shows mercy from generation to generation to all who fear him.” (Luke 1:46b-50, NLT)
Often, when we turn our minds to the coming of our Savior in Bethlehem, we revisit the picture of the Nativity. A young couple, desperate and alone seeking shelter in a scene that has become the bucolic quintessence of peace on earth. But the coming of our Prince of Peace brought a solemnity—a weight—for many reasons. He was God made flesh, incarnate divine in vulnerable flesh. And to get that flesh, He had to be born—and part of that, as we know the story, meant that He had to be born of a woman.
Recently, I was struck by a thought about this story. I love the beautiful acceptance that Mary presents in response to all that happens to her. She was simple, from what we know of her. She loved God and sought to bring Him glory. In response to hearing the news she was chosen by the Most High to bring the Son of David into this world, she responded by stating simply, “I am the Lord’s servant.” (Luke 1:38a) The thought I had about the story was this: how often did Mary consider that phrase and all the implications it had on her life? I am the Lord’s servant. Certainly, it seems, the from Biblical account, she went on to consider Him to be a human son—she was concerned for His welfare and cared for Him. But how many times, in those early years, did she wonder if it was all a dream?
I know that I can get that way at times. I have had miraculous encounters with a holy God. He speaks to me, actually cares for me—and He works on my behalf in supernatural ways—but I often forget. I often feel the elation of connecting with His Spirit in a special way, then Monday morning comes. Then the chores and the responsibilities come. These aren’t wrong, but in the midst of doing them, I often forget the miraculous. I wonder how often Mary thought that. Late at night, after putting the house to bed, peaking in Jesus’ room to watch him sleep, Did it all really happen? Was I just dreaming? The Son of God? And then, if there was doubt—even as I know I would have had it—I can certainly see her saying those same words, I am the Lord’s servant.
After His ministry began, and as the spokes of prophecy and time began to run apace with the life of her one-small boy—even as she was inspired by His words and works—she would lose Him. When those thoughts struck her, did she respond, “I am the Lord’s servant.” The burden of her faith in God would not end there. She was chosen to watch her son die. She would not only have to bury Him but watch Him be flogged and humiliated. As she watched Him, hanging there—pierced hands, pierced feet, pierced side—did she respond, I am the Lord’s servant. She had to face the unthinkable—to watch her son, to watch her Savior, die for all. I am the Lord’s servant.
Let her story of humble faith amid overwhelming sacrifice inspire us. When we face all the terror and woes of this life, when we weep with no words and no salve to sooth our ache, I am the Lord’s servant. He is God. He has a plan and purpose—a design for our good. Even when it is eclipsed by the weariness of sin’s toll, let us respond, even as Mary reminds us, I am the Lord’s servant.