While we may initially think “passive” is a synonym of weak, it really is a deeply vulnerable, intimate word when it is ascribed to ourselves and how we are designed.
Mary passively accepted the message from the angel when he told her she was to deliver the Christ. Knowing all the ridicule, rumors and relational stress it would cause, she, in all her clarity passively accepted. Luke 1:38 says, ““I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.”
Then we have Jonah, Moses, Judas and many others who did quite the opposite. If you read through the story of Mary there is a serene strength that cradles a rarely recognized comfort. She was quiet enough to hear, wise enough to listen and courageous enough to passively accept what was happening. Her choice was so instant, so smooth and so filled with commitment, you hardly even realize she had a choice. Sometimes I think this is what made her so special, what made her the ideal carrier of the one who would rescue us, the one who penetrated enemy camp to capture what was rightfully his.
Back to the other guys.
Jonah 1:1-3 says, “The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me. But Jonah ran away”. Jonah was quiet enough to hear, wise enough to listen but refused to accept. He actively rejected what was happening. The verses that follow demonstrate that he is anything but at peace.
Exodus 3:10,” So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” Moses was quiet enough to hear, wise enough to listen but refused to accept. Moses gets into a debate with his creator. It reminds me of a battle between a parent and a defiant, insecure child. The next batch of text is filled with Moses trying to find the loophole in his creators request. And the creators themed responses are simply “Do you remember who I am?” Finally because of Moses’ tantrummed rejection, God brings in Moses’ brother Aaron to help.
Judas’ self-consumed rejection is by far one of the most daunting examples of what a lack of acceptance can result in.
It starts with his unprotected mind.
Mathew 26:14-16 “Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot —went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.”
The story continues once his mind has been awakened and his mental fortress have been rebuilt
Mathew 27 3:5 says, “Judas, the one who betrayed him, realized that Jesus was doomed. Overcome with remorse, he gave back the thirty silver coins to the high priests, saying, “I’ve sinned. I’ve betrayed an innocent man.” They said, “What do we care? That’s your problem!” Judas threw the silver coins into the Temple and left. Then he went out and hung himself.”
Judas was no different than his fellow disciples. A creature created in the image of the creator, stolen by the accuser. The difference was in his response. I think sometimes we like to think of Judas as the bad guy. The one that gave Christ to those who would mutilate him over the next few days. But he wasn’t. He was a creature created in the image of his creator who believed the lie laced thoughts that were so gently placed into his mind by the thief of all that is good. Judas violently rejected and that choice resulted in him taking the very breathe his creator gave to him.
We will never cease having challenges, struggles, tragedies or lose. I wonder how it would affect our joy and connection with the holy spirit if we stopped praying for specific things to go specific ways…or for specific things not to happen or not happen….and just prayed for his will to be done and that we may be content with whatever that is. To pray that we may be quiet enough to hear, wise enough to listen and courageous enough to passively accept what our creator allows to occur. I love how Paul describes this way of living in the moment. Philippians 4:11. “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
A strength, a peace, that far outweighs anything at all can only come from the one who created it. Because only he knows what we need, fully. And the only way we can experience that peace, that strength to be stable when all else isn’t, is to be quiet enough to hear, wise enough to listen and courageous enough to passively accept whatever he delivers or allows to enter our moments.