She stood there alone, in awe, scared enough to run but unable to flee his presence. He had called himself a messenger from God and greeted her by saying, “Favored woman, God is with you.” But it was all so confusing. “God is with me?” she asked herself. “What does that mean?”
She was still trying to comprehend the angel’s words when he spoke again: “Don’t be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God!” (see Luke 1:30). Now she was both confused and disturbed. How did he know her name? Did he know her family too? Did he know she was engaged to Joseph? What could he possibly want?
As if he could hear the anxious thoughts racing through Mary’s mind, the angel Gabriel began to explain the reason for his visit (see Luke 1:31-33).
She would have a son who would receive the throne of David and reign forever? It didn’t make sense. “But how can this happen?” she asked. “I am a virgin” (see v. 34). The angel’s reply is found in Luke 1:35-37.
After that we hear no more objections from Mary. No more questions. She believed every word the angel spoke. Her greatest desire was to be part of God’s divine plan, and she believed God was giving her that chance. So with a calm confidence she told the angel, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true” (see Luke 1:38). I Like the way her statement reads in the New King James Version: “Let it be to me according to your word.”
It was unthinkable that Mary would respond with such trust. Nothing had changed in her situation. She was still a virgin. She was still unmarried. But instead of telling the angel all the reasons what he was saying was impossible, she chose to say yes to the unknown.
We have the benefit of knowing the end of the story. We know Mary gave birth to a son named Jesus, who willingly died on the cross to save us from sin. We know Jesus’ birth and death changed the course of history. But Mary had no way of knowing all that would happen. Nor was she fully aware of what would be required of her. He didn’t know she would be ridiculed by her community or that she’d have to watch her son die a cruel, painful death.
But Mary didn’t say yes because she had everything figured out. She didn’t conduct a risk assessment and determined the odds were best if she accepted Gabriel’s words. I believe she said yes because of something the angel said: “For the word of God will never fail.”
Trust is “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.” Mary may not have known how the Holy Spirit would overshadow her or how she would give birth to the Son of God. She may not have known how her cousin became pregnant after being barren for so many years. But I believe she knew the word of God could be trusted, and that was all she needed to know. With that knowledge, she was able to declare, “Let it be to me according to your word.”
There was a time in my life when I felt uncertain about the future. During that season God spoke to me clearly about what He wanted me to do, but what He said seemed impossible. Interestingly, I did not doubt for a minute whether God was speaking to me; I struggled with His message. I felt like Mary, wondering “what manner of greeting this was “(Luke 1:29, NKJV). I had no idea how God was going to do what He had said. But when like Mary, I chose to say, “Let it be to me according to your word,” God opened doors for me that I never would have dreamed possible. Through Mary’s example, I believe God wants to show us how to embrace the unthinkable life of trust He is calling each of us to.
Prayer Power for the Week of June 3, 2018
This week, thank the Lord for His faithfulness in keeping His Word and that we have access to His written Word for wisdom, guidance and examples of those who have gone before us and experienced firsthand the fulfillment of His promises. Praise Him for being totally trustworthy. Continue to pray for worldwide revival, especially in our own country. Pray for those victimized by lava and ash in Hawaii, and for those being misplaced by war, natural disasters, loss of income and crime. Ask God what you can do to alleviate suffering. Remember our president and those working with him to ensure peace. Read: Luke 1:31-37, John 3:16.