You yourself a sword will pierce.

What an ominous encounter this must have been!   Imagine a stranger coming up to you, taking your baby in his arms, and uttering prophecies about the child and yourself.   You would be more than taken aback, wouldn’t you?

But what did Mary make of this?   Perhaps her first reaction was fear, but she didn’t dwell on that.   Instead, she shifted from fearful thoughts to probing questions.   What will this “sword” look like?   I know that Jesus is the Messiah, but what does it mean that he will be the “rise” and “fall” of many (Luke 2:35)?   Just as she had always done in the past, Mary took her questions, concerns, and fears with her in prayer.   There she pondered all she had seen and heard and asked God to give her insight and increase her faith and trust in him (1:29; 2:19, 51).

Just as we “looked back” in yesterday’s meditation, Mary looked back.   We can imagine her recalling the times when God had proven his faithfulness and care for her.   Remembering Joseph’s angelic visitation and his decision to take her into his home bolstered her faith.   Recalling the wise men’s warning about Herod surely helped bring God’s faithfulness into focus as she contemplated her future “sword”:   I trust that God will still be with me, even when that “sword” pierces my heart.

Like Mary, your future holds both joys and sorrows.   Even if you have already faced a few “swords” in your life—as well as a few miracles—you can be sure that more are coming.   So how can you follow Mary’s example of faith and trust?   The most important thing you can do is get in the habit of pondering the ways God has been faithful to you in the past.   Recall the times when you have said, “God definitely shielded me there” or “Thank you, Jesus;   your plan was so much better than mine.”   Keep the memories of his goodness and unwavering love in the forefront of your mind as you offer him your yes, again and again.

The same God who accompanied Mary is walking with you today, just as he has always been with you.   Hold onto this truth, and your faith and trust will grow.

Word Among Us