And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed.”Luke 1:46-48 (NIV)
My college apartment-mate, Valerie, possessed a unique gift. Whenever we talked, she made me feel like only I existed in that moment. Her eyes held mine without distraction. She remained attentive to my every word. I’m not sure how she did it or if she even knew she did it, but she showed me how to be present. I wanted to listen to and be mindful of others the way she was.
In her song of glory, Mary of Nazareth stated that God had been mindful of her humble state. This word is expressed very differently in the most popular translations of the Bible. The New American Standard Bible writes, “had regard for,” and the English Standard Version states, “looked on.” Other paraphrase versions say “took notice of” (New Living Translation), and “deigned to notice me” (JB Phillips).
The Greek word is epiblepo which means “to turn the eyes upon, to look or gaze upon” (Blue Letter Bible). It was Hagar, a rejected slave lost and dying in the wilderness, who first realized this truth:
“She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”Genesis 16:13 NIV
God saw Mary and God sees me. But he doesn’t just take a quick glance at me, he is mindful of me. I love that word. It is intentional. It takes effort. The Bible confirms this: “How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand—when I awake, I am still with you” (Psalm 139:17-18 NIV).
I learn from a quick search of Scripture that God is mindful of the number of hairs on my head (Luke 12:7), my unformed body woven together in my mother’s uterus (Psalm 139:15), how many days I will live on this earth (Psalm 139:16), the fragility of my human body (Psalm 103:14), and what I need before I even ask (Matthew 6:8). All this speaks to the intimate way in which he knows and sees me.
God saw that Mary was just a humble peasant girl. He comprehended everything about her—all the intimate details of her life and person—and still he decided that she was the one best suited to bear and raise his son, Jesus.
God is mindful of me too. He sees my simple middle-aged, ordinary talents and everyday challenges. And yet he has graced me with some great honors—to bear and raise two sons, to teach, to write, to train and support global workers and to tell Mary’s story.
Mindfulness is popular these days. Used in the context of therapy and meditation, it encourages people to be present, focused, conscious and aware. I am grateful that God demonstrated mindfulness long before science caught on. When he thinks of me, he is totally present, completely focused and fully attentive to me, despite the fact that billions of others also need his attention. Behold the greatness and the intimacy of my God—Mary’s God.
REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION
Do you believe God is mindful of you? Why or why not?
How does knowing that God sees you encourage you today?
Father God, thank you for being mindful of Mary and of me. Your words that reassure me you know the intimate details of my life are just what I need today. I don’t understand it and unless I believe it, it sounds impersonal. But I believe you are infinite and omnipresent and can hear the pleas of all beings at the same time and be totally focused on them and present with them.