Our God is with Us: The Promise of Comfort in Mary’s Womb

Shame can be a powerful enemy. It lurks unseen around the pain in our hearts, devising its evil game of hide-and-seek unbeknownst to our conscious minds. Shame, which was meant to be a barrier between us and evil, has been twisted by the enemy since our days in the garden, degrading our souls with a message: “You are unworthy and unloved.” That crafty serpent, indwelt by the devil himself, would not only twist what God had said, but would sink his teeth into the protective measures God had put in place. 

Shame, one of the most primeval reactions we experience, is also able to subversively motivate our pain toward anger, wrath, and revenge. Ultimately, it seeks to destroy life-giving relationships and completely isolate us from all that is meaningful in life. Even those who don’t believe the ancient writings about the garden nevertheless feel the effects of what happened there, and they long unknowingly for their soul’s redemption. 

Eve felt shame. Following their sin, both Adam and Eve were driven by fear and shame to hide from God. Oh, that they could have faced God and immediately sought restoration! Oh, that they could have understood His love, rather than isolating and suffering further! Instead, when they were found, they added blaming to their sinful behavior. 

God pronounced the penalty for the sin of Adam and Eve. But in the same breath, He also foreshadowed their redemption, yea, the redemption of all mankind: 

“So the Lord God said to the serpent,
‘Because you have done this,
Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
and you will eat dust all the days of your life.
And I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.’”

Genesis 3:14-15, NIV

The offspring of woman would crush (or bruise) the serpent’s head, and the serpent would strike his heel. The agreed-upon interpretation of this passage points us forward to Jesus, who was born of a woman, (Mary) and whose heel was struck (the spikes at the cross) by the enemy himself. 

It’s been a hard season of life for many people close to me. This month, one friend lost her father, and another lost his mother. Both deaths felt many years premature. I have several others near me who have also lost loved-ones this year. Some of the deaths were anticipated, and some were not. Several friends have loved-ones hospitalized with life-threatening illnesses as I write. I’ve never seen so many people affected by cancer, and I’ve never known a season when so many young people have taken the ultimate step and ended it all. More and more, we realize, we were not made for shame, fear, and isolation. We were made for something better, and we are in desperate need of the redemption of all things.

And here is how that redemption has come to be:  

“Jesus’ mother, Mary, was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people (redemption) from their sins.’ 

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means, God with us’.”

Matthew 1:18-23, NIV

So… if they’d met face to face here on earth, what do you think Mary would have said to Eve? 

As we celebrate the birth of a babe in a manger, we recall how the world awaited Jesus the Messiah’s first coming. He came to earth to be with us. The child in Mary’s womb would aright all that was unleashed in the garden that ancient day. He would remove the spot of every sin for those who would trust in Him. He would restore all our relationships, beginning with our Heavenly Father, and extending to those between us as His children. No more blaming, no more fear. He would diminish shame’s power to its rightful place as a boundary against sin. The soul would feel it’s worth! Our eyes would meet His gaze and that of each other with joy unfettered. Disease would shrivel up and isolation die a swift death when we fully realized ‘God with us.’ 

The child in Mary’s womb would give everything to see this happen. In the spiritual realm, His work was eternally finished on the cross, “Tetelestai.” And now, we wait with eager anticipation the imperishable consummation of His work, when we will be together in glory, time without end.

Come Immanuel, come! 

In the meantime, while we await the consummation, no message is more comforting than the knowledge ofGod with us.’ We are worthy, made in His image, and loved despite our shame, fear, and attempted isolation. Because of Jesus’ victory, we need not hide from God. Spread the word. Give comfort. We are never alone, for Our God is with Us

*Listen to Our God is With Us by Steven Curtis Chapman

**To enjoy a beautiful pencil drawing of Mary consoling Eve, look up “Sr. Grace Remington of the Cistercian Sisters of the Mississippi Abbey.” You can purchase greeting cards with this beautiful artwork, and a poem written in explanation. 

***To read more on the topic of shame, I recommend reading Anatomy of the Soul, or The Soul of Shame, both by Curt Thompson, MD.

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