Saying “yes” when God doesn’t tell you the whole plan.

On the Feast of the Annunciation of Our Lord, we recall the story of the angel Gabriel approaching Mary to share God’s plan for our salvation and Mary’s grace-filled, willing acceptance of her role.

Mary is understandably confused when Gabriel tells her that she will become pregnant. Gabriel is asking her to take part in a plan that does not make sense to her – “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” (Luke 1:34).

Can you think of a time in your life when you felt called to something but couldn’t see the path God had for you to get there?

When I was a junior at The Ohio State University majoring in Psychology, I enrolled in the course for my Psych senior thesis project. Everything I had been told up to this point in my college career pointed to this thesis as crucial for my future education and career. I was instructed that, if I wanted to make something out of my undergraduate degree in Psychology, I needed to complete a thesis project, get accepted into a Masters program, and continue down a path toward a research career in academia. But, at the moment, I did not have the spark and inspiration I thought I should in my research projects.

At the same time, I had just started a 1:1 directed study with a professor in the Classics Department about St. Paul and the New Testament Scriptures. This was just for a minor in Classics that I declared simply for a personal and spiritual interest in learning more about my faith. God was already weaving together a perfect situation for me before I recognized it.

The add/drop deadline was approaching. My stomach was in knots over this Psychology thesis situation. I felt like if I dropped out of the thesis course, I was throwing away all the work I had done thus far towards my degree. I decided to follow my gut – what I could not identify at the time as God’s calling – and dropped my thesis course.

Just days after the add/drop deadline passed and course enrollments were final, the Classics professor from my 1:1 study made a surprising ask. He invited me to continue studying with him the following semester and complete a thesis project with him as my advisor. I never expected this. Had I not dropped my Psychology thesis course, I would not have had the bandwidth to do both research projects. With one “yes” to God when I had no clue where I was being led, God gave me an opportunity to say “yes” to an unforeseen new path that led me to graduate studies in Theology and job opportunities in ministry.

Mary did not know where the path would lead that God had for her, but she responded: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).

As you reflect on Mary’s “yes” in Luke 1:26-38, consider how God might be calling you down a path you cannot yet see.