Make the weak hands strong,
Make the weak knees steady.
Say to people who are afraid and confused,
“Be strong. Don’t be afraid. Look, your God is Here.
I wonder if Mary’s hands shook and if her knees knocked together when the angel of the Lord appeared to her?
Think of times when you felt nervous or afraid. What did it feel like in your body? Did your stomach churn? Maybe you felt a tightening in your shoulders or tingly in your feet or maybe your hands shook?
What did you do to comfort yourself or to help you feel safe or calm again? Some people say how they are feeling out loud to someone else and find the feeling loses a bit of its power. Some look for comfort in a held hand or a hug, others prefer time alone breathing slowly or even taking a nap. Have you ever, in that moment of fear or uncertainty, taken a moment to bring it to God?
Today we think about those times of fear and the feelings they brought but we also think about how we can take heart, because God is here. Our God is here when we feel completely alone. Our God is here when we are surrounded by loved ones. Our God is here when we are still and silent. Our God is here when we are loud and busy. In the Isaish reading God’s presence turns deserts into green pastures. Sometimes when we’re going through a tough time, having someone with us in those dark moments, some to laugh and cry with, makes the journey through the darkness a bit sweeter and lighter. Sometimes we can even remember those tough times with fondness because of the person who stayed with us. God stays with us, through good and bad. He sees our tears and our joy and He helps us to have courage to keep going.
Mary was a young girl of no status, from the village of Nazareth, who was called by God. Her response started with fear but moved to trust in God’s Plan.
Maybe we too need to hear the words today ‘Do not be afraid.’
And as we go out into the week, we can be reminded over and over that no matter our circumstances, we are never alone. Our God is here. And because God is here, we can take heart.