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The angel Gabriel had just explained to Mary what was about to take place in her life, namely, that she, as a virgin, would be the God-bearer, the human vessel through whom Christ would be born into the world. 

Few of us ever know with certainty what the future holds. We hope, we pray, plan, and prepare, but, as is the nature of life, you never know for sure. Mary knew. God told her through His angelic messenger. And she responded with simple faith, “let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38 NKJV).

I was sitting with my mother and my Nana at our kitchen table one evening when I was about fifteen as they talked. My mother had heart disease. Still in her mid-forties, mom had been in and out of the hospital for half a dozen years and had undergone multiple operations, including open heart surgery by that time. Her physical struggles had given her a unique and beautiful perspective on life. Nana had come to visit my mom after finding out that she, too, had a terminal condition. My mother’s wisdom was unforgettable.

“You know, Nana, God has given us a precious gift,” she said.

“How do you figure that?” Nana answered skeptically. Nana was Hawaiian and, while among the most loving and beautiful people on earth, not a Christian.

“Well, we know we’re not going to live forever. People don’t think about dying—don’t prepare. But we know what the future holds. It might be a few months, or it might be many, many years, which we hope it is, but this precious life will end for us one day, and God has given us a glimpse through this disease. In that sense, it is a gift. You and I have a chance to put things in order, to get right with God before He calls us home.”

I don’t recall Nana’s response, but my mother, for one, was grateful to God for giving her a glimpse of the future. She fought the disease for about twenty years, she wanted to get the most out of every moment she had left. And in the end, she, like Holy Mary, could say with honest sincerity, “let it be to me according to your word,” because God had given her a glimpse of the future, and she didn’t waste it.

Dear one, make the most of your time in this life, get your mind off of the things that don’t matter, value people, love your family, do good for others whether they deserve it or not. And finally, surrender your will to the Lord Jesus Christ and adopt the same trusting spirit as my mother and the God-bearer, Holy Mary, by submitting to God’s will and saying, “Let it be to me according to your word.”