Earlier in December, we were sitting with a group of friends, discussing Scripture and its significance, thinking about the upcoming birth of Christ, when Rachel, my wife, uttered these simple words, “God doesn’t rush pregnancy.”
They’re obvious words in some sense. We know that a fetus takes 40 weeks or so to fully form and be ready to enter our world. We’re grateful for the medical marvels that can help those born prematurely, but that is no one’s preferred way forward. Pregnancy takes time. Of course God doesn’t rush it.
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But then, I think about Mary. Nine months of wondering what was going on. Perhaps years of pondering exactly what the reality-piercing words spoken to her meant. Her body changing, cravings coming and going, morning sickness and the wearying burden and blessing of carrying life.
If ever there was a time for God to rush a pregnancy, to speed things up a little bit, that seems to be the time. He had already asked so much of her – to believe the miraculous, to face family and friends with a nearly unbelievable truth, to give her “yes.”
But…God doesn’t rush pregnancy.
I suspect that it’s these extreme times in the lives of our forefathers and mothers in the faith that speak to us something of the way God works in us. Mary’s yes wasn’t to an overnight result. It was to a process of forming and waiting and wondering. A slow one.
I want my yes to God to be punctuated by a rapid response. Sure, I know God has his timing, but how hard would it be for us to sync watches?
But formation doesn’t seem to happen that way. God seems far more interested in forming us slowly, over time, bit by bit. We are grateful for moments of punctuated grace – times when heaven comes near enough for us to gasp and we are fully aware of God’s presence. It’s the very rarity of these moments, though, that helps form us.
We are invited to find grace in the mundane, God’s presence in those around us, his gentle guidance in our listening when things seem quiet.
I wonder if Mary knew this when she gave her “yes,” when she agreed and affirmed that it should be to her according to God’s word. Maybe this came as no surprise to her, that she would need to be patient and wait a long time before having the promise undoubtedly confirmed – that she had borne the Son of God.
Maybe she knew, but I’m more impatient. I still need the reminder…
God doesn’t rush pregnancy.