Born of God (continued)
Submissiveness and Simplicity
The next thing about Mary is her simplicity and her submissiveness. There is something very beautiful about her simplicity, is there not? We are often too complicated about all these things. We make the Christian life far too complicated - projecting our mentalities and our arguments, our contentions, and our demands for explanation, and what-not - and we are standing in our own light as we do so. The Lord cannot get on; that is all rubbish in the way. He needs a heart like Mary's (and I am not setting up Mary to be worshiped): a heart that is simple, in this sense, that there is nothing argumentative, querulous, awkward, about it. It is an open heart: perplexed, it is true; not understanding; wondering how it can be, and saying so. Nevertheless, because of the simplicity, honesty, purity of her heart, she arrived at this: "Be it unto me according to Thy word" - absolute submission, even to the mystery, and what it would involve. The trouble with so many of us is that we are so slow in our submission, our surrender, our giving way, out letting go. We will argue; we will demand an explanation. We go around and around this eternal circle, getting nowhere, because we will not let go - we just will not let go; and so we come back to the point from which we started a thousand times. Mary put her whole life into this: "Be it unto me according to Thy word." And the angel departed. That was what he was working toward.
In involved Mary in suffering - it involved her in suffering immediately. And then, forty days after the birth, Simeon told her: "A sword shall pierce through thine own soul; that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed." I think there is something there that is very helpful. When the Cross is at work in a life, people begin to betray themselves; their thoughts begin to accuse, to make charges; to say, This is because of so and so ... When someone is having a bad time, thoughts come out: people divulge what they are thinking and feeling about the one concerned - some are sympathetic and some antagonistic. "A sword shall pierce through thine own soul; that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed." It was necessary that men should show themselves, show where they stood, on that day of the Cross; Mary's suffering was a part of that.
This may seem to us something of a mystery. But the point is that this kind of thing that happened to her, and which happens to us, involves us in suffering. It involves us in the offence of the Cross; it involves us in much misunderstanding, even much ostracism. The angel left her. She knew what it meant then. But later on Simeon told her what was coming, along the line of this child. What it amounts to is this: that to be a child of God is no ordinary thing. It is something unusual, something different, something of God. It is the result of an intervention of God from heaven.
(continued with # 37 - "The Glory of the Lord")