Be It Unto Me
“Be it unto me” are some of the most beautiful words in the Scriptures. They reflect the humility and trust of one who displays the kind of character with which God can do mighty things. “Be it unto me” is the spirit of Abraham, who followed God in faith, not knowing where it would take him; even to the point of being willing to sacrifice his beloved son. “Be it unto me” is the spirit of Hannah, who surrendered her own first born son of promise to the Lord’s use for life. “Be it unto me” was the spirit of David, who refused to take the promised kingdom by his own force or timing. It is the spirit of Isaiah who said, “Here I am, Lord, send me.” “Be it unto me” epitomized Daniel and his three friends, whether they were facing a lion’s den or a fiery furnace. It is the spirit of those who say, “My God can save me, but if He doesn’t choose to, I will still worship Him alone—be it unto me as He has said.”
Of course the one who actually said those words was Mary, the mother of Jesus. While only in her mid-teens, and perhaps only having a glimmer of understanding of the shame that would be associated with her decision, she willingly submitted to the purposes of God for her life. Like with many of His choice servants throughout history, the favor of God came at a high price in this world, but will reap a bounty of blessings and glory in the next. They realized that the hardships would pass away, but the blessings would be everlasting.
How sweet the words of her cousin, Elizabeth, must have been to her when she said, “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” (Luke 1:45), for there would be many times where she might well have been tempted to question if she had heard Him correctly, or other times when prophecies were sobering to absorb. For instance, Simeon said to Mary, “And a sword will pierce your own soul too” (Luke 2:35b). We know that Scripture says on a couple of occasions that Mary pondered all these things in her heart. There certainly was a lot to think about after saying, “Be it unto me.”
Recently my son, Jonathan, and I were discussing the disciples and their willingness to follow Jesus. A Sunday school lesson he was preparing to teach said they had responded in faith at their call, but Jonathan pointed out that when they first responded to Jesus’ call, they thought they were getting in on the ground floor of an earthly kingdom. Leave their boat? Sure thing! They left it all behind because they had hopes of ruling with Jesus. It wasn’t until after the cross that they realized what they had really signed up for, yet not one of them (except Judas) walked away. When Jesus was restoring Peter after his denials, He told him a bit about how he would meet his end. Peter pointed at John and asked, “What about him?” Jesus replied that Peter needn’t concern himself with John’s fate, but just with how he, Peter, would glorify God with his own death.
In essence Peter was being summoned to say, “Be it unto me.” This was not merely to follow in the footsteps of Mary or the other saints mentioned above, but to follow Christ Himself. Jesus willingly left glory and took on humanity. In the Garden of Gethsemane, when faced with untold suffering and the horrifying prospect of holy God taking upon Himself the filth of our sin, He said, “Not my will, but Yours be done”—be it unto me. In Hebrews we are told that Jesus said, “Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—I have come to do Your will, my God”—be it unto me.
We, too, are called to not just say those words, but to live them out. It displays trust in the nature and character of God, faith in His goodness and faithfulness to His promises. It demonstrates a humility which speaks clearly that we have chosen His will to be done, not our own. It shines forth with a Christlike nature, which should be the goal of anyone who names His name.
When we say, “Be it unto me,” we won’t have all of our questions answered first. Like Mary, we won’t know about having to flee Herod, or what it’s like to misplace (for a few days) the Son of God, or having to watch Jesus suffer and die—or whatever our equivalent sufferings might be. But, like Jesus, we will go forward through whatever hardships lie ahead with a deep confidence that the goodness and faithfulness of God will ensure that the joy set before us will so far outstrip the suffering as to make all the pain inconsequential.
When we look at what God did in the lives of those who have said, “Be it unto me,” it should cause us to cast aside any fears we have and plead for the strength to say it to the God we trust, and ask for the faithfulness to live it out day by day.
by Sheri Cook, Director of Special Ministries
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