Read: Matthew 1:18-23;
And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:38)
Imagine you’re walking down the street, and everyone you pass is staring at you. Now imagine, that just by looking at you, they also know you broke the law. This is Hester Prynne’s predicament in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet Letter. Hester has a child by a man who is not her husband and, in those days (17th-century Boston, Massachusetts), her action is punishable by law. She is ordered to wear a scarlet letter A (for adulterer) on her dress and has to suffer through public humiliation. This label is hard to shake.
In the Gospels, Mary, the mother of Jesus, faces the same fate. Few people will believe or even understand the events leading up to her miraculous conception. She knows that she will be ridiculed for getting pregnant before she and Joseph are married. Despite what people will say about her, she decides to yield to God’s plan and look to him for strength.
If we are serious about obeying God, we can expect persecution (Matt. 5:11-12). When people say hurtful things about us, whether they are true or not, we can’t let insults keep us down. Rising above them won’t always be easy for us, but we must get up. We can find the strength we need for any situation when we look to God. —Ericka Loynes
Prayer: Lord, help us to stand strong when we are being persecuted for your sake.