How Will This Be?—Life Application for December 4, 2016

November 27, 2016 No Comments »
How Will This Be?—Life Application for December 4, 2016

By David Faust

faustIn the late 1800s when visionaries proposed connecting Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with the mainland, skeptics scoffed about “the bridge that could never be built.” It took a long time to realize the dream, but since its completion in 1957, millions of travelers have crossed the 26,372-foot-long Mackinac Bridge.

In 1961 President John F. Kennedy announced his commitment “before this decade is out, to landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.” We should attempt such things, he said, “not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” The vision became a reality in July 1969 when Neil Armstrong took “one giant step for mankind” onto the lunar dust.

God’s Ability, Our Availability

At first, great ideas are often met with resistance and doubt. Imaginative leaders envision the “what,” but practical-minded followers wonder “how.”

Abraham and Sarah chuckled with amused wonder when the Lord announced they would have a baby in their old age. When a shepherd boy, armed with a sling and a handful of stones, stepped into the valley to face Goliath, Philistine and Israelite soldiers alike surely shook their heads in disbelief and muttered, “This isn’t going to have a good outcome.” The task seemed overwhelming when Nehemiah surveyed Jerusalem’s broken-down walls and called the Jews to rebuild the city, but they accomplished the task despite strong opposition.

The formula for success? God’s ability plus human availability. When the angel Gabriel announced that Mary would give birth, the young woman “was greatly troubled at his words” (Luke 1:29) and wondered, “How will this be?” (v. 34). Having any baby at all seemed impossible, for Mary was a virgin. And this wasn’t going to be just any baby. “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High,” the angel predicted, and “his kingdom will never end” (vv. 32, 33). That was the “what.” The Holy Spirit would take care of the “how.”

If God says something will be, he is quite capable of arranging how it will be. God’s ability paired up with Mary’s availability. She responded in faith, “I am the Lord’s servant
. . . . May your word to me be fulfilled” (v. 38).

A Faith-Stretching Challenge

How do you react when circumstances test your faith? In our first year of marriage, my wife Candy and I were college students living on my part-time ministry salary and tips she made as a server in a low-budget restaurant. Money was so tight we could barely pay the rent on our tiny apartment. We couldn’t afford to tithe, I thought, but Candy held firm. “We will absolutely give the Lord at least 10 percent of everything we earn,” she insisted. I couldn’t out-argue her, but I looked at the puny balance in our checking account and wondered, “How will this be?” Thankfully my wise, faithful wife got it right, and over four decades of marriage I can assure you that we never have regretted putting God first in our family budget.

I need to keep reviewing a basic lesson in the course called Faith 101. When God makes his will clear—even when his intentions surpass my full understanding—my job is simply to say, “I am the Lord’s servant.” He will take care of the “how.”

David Faust serves as the Associate Minister at East 91st Street Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Based on International Sunday School Lesson, © 2013, by the Lesson Committee. Scripture quotations are from the New International Version ©2011, unless otherwise indicated.

As you apply today’s Scripture study to everyday life, read Engage Your Faith by David Faust and the correlating Evaluation Questions.

Daily Readings

Nov. 28


Isaiah 6:1-8

Here Am I, Send Me

Nov. 29


1 Samuel 1:1-11

Hannah’s Womb Was Closed

Nov. 30


1 Samuel 1:15-20

I Asked Him of the Lord

Dec. 1


Genesis 18:9-15

Shall I Indeed Bear a Child?

Dec. 2


John 1:43-46

Out of Nazareth

Dec. 3


Isaiah 7:10-14

Young Woman Will Bear a Son

Dec. 4


Luke 1:26-38

Birth of Jesus Foretold

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