A friend of mine, who is a minister, had struggled for some time with a deteriorating marriage. Finally, one Saturday night, she had decided that it was indeed over. The dream of a blissful marriage was gone forever. She determined that she simply would never be happy again. Against the backdrop of this despair, she found herself standing up that Sunday to preach a sermon on "happiness." I suppose we have all had to pretend we were happy when we were anything but.
Reading about the discovery of a young maiden, Mary, that she is pregnant, makes me wonder about her state of mind in such a situation. This unplanned pregnancy could very well have jeopardized her upcoming wedding, not to mention her entire future. How is it, then, that she is able to sing such a joyful song when she visits Elizabeth?
My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour," (Luke 1:46-47)
I have no doubt that Mary also shared many fears with Elizabeth that day. Hers was not a joy which denied fear or pain. In the midst of her anxieties, she had an awareness of God's presence and guidance. This was the source of her joy, in the midst of fear.
My friend did manage to get through that difficult sermon, and her marriage not only survived, it thrives!
Prayer: O God, see us through our fear and pain. Give us the joy of your faithful presence in the midst of our struggles. Amen.