(Historical content from Who Is This Child? by Dr. John Ortberg and Luke 1:26-38)
Are you in a situation you didn’t ask for? Were you in a comfort zone of day to day living when the bottom fell out? Ever have the next few days, weeks, or months planned to the best of your ability only to wonder if you’re able to make it from hour to hour?
Then you can glean a new perspective from the life of Mary, Jesus’ mother.
Let’s set the scene. Mary, a young teenage girl of probably 14 or 15, was pledged to be married to a man named Joseph. No doubt, Mary most likely daydreamed about her future and what her life with Joseph would be like. On this particular day, however, the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary. It wasn’t a dream. No doubt about it, this was reality. “Greetings, you who are highly favored. The Lord is with you,” announced Gabriel. Mary was “greatly troubled” (verse 29). Note that she was troubled before she knew all the facts of the angel’s visit.
Feeling “greatly troubled” without knowing all the facts? Like Mary, God is with you.
The purpose of the unexpected encounter became clear. She was going to give birth to a son. As if the first bit of news wasn’t enough to override the line items on her Roman calendar, another dose of news followed. Not only would she give birth to a son, it would be God’s son. What? Okay. Three important facts aren’t lining up. She’s had no relations with a man, she would be pregnant, and then it would be God’s son. She certainly didn’t ask for the impossible. The impossible found her. Not only did the impossible find her, it appointed her. Mary could never have prepared for THIS. THIS was a “first.” Literally.
If we could pause for a minute, let’s ponder normal, human reactions:
“I didn’t ask for this. I was minding my own business…”
“Why do I have your favor in this situation? I would have been totally fine if you had chosen someone else…”
“How am I to get through the days, weeks, and months that lie ahead?…”
The angel obviously sensed her troubled demeanor. “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.” This is the second reminder that she is specifically chosen for this impossible situation. Can you relate?
Consequences of the culture dictated the outcome. Mary could have faced stoning, rejection by Joseph, rumors and gossip, and danger from other kings.
Are you scared what lies ahead? Mary was. You, like she, have a choice. You can sing Mary’s song. Let her song be your song:
First verse: My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
Mary was human, like you.
1. You have the right to be “greatly troubled.”
2. You have the right to be scared.
3. You have the right to be disappointed that your plans were shattered.
4. You have the right to ponder normal outcomes.
But here is where the shift begins. And this shift is CRUCIAL. It’s the shift that changes your perspective and mindset in your impossible situation. Sing Mary’s song while you ponder God’s message in your circumstances.
Second verse: My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
He has found favor with you. He is with you. He will walk with you in your fear. And if needed, sing Mary’s song daily in your mind so its message is permanently recorded in your heart every day in this season of your impossible situation.
Third verse: My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
When you start to be “greatly troubled,” sing the song.
When you are scared, sing the song.
When you are disappointed, sing the song.
When you ponder normal outcomes, sing the song.
God has chosen YOU in this season of time. He has found favor in YOU. Let me repeat that again, just as the angel did for Mary….He has found favor for YOU to accomplish HIS work in and through your impossible situation that you didn’t ask for.
Let the angel’s words linger for you as they did for Mary in the days, weeks, and months before, during, and after Jesus’ birth: “Nothing is impossible with God” (verse 37). That’s the lingering message for you to remember.
Embrace and respond to your season of the impossible as Mary did: “May it be to me as you have said” (verse 38).
The message of long ago is the same as it was then. Let God birth the miracle that is needed for your impossible situation. For nothing is impossible with God.
*This blog will be the first in a series throughout December. An individual look at the characters of the Christmas story will give a fresh perspective as you, too, face a situation that warrants the same message of over 2000 years ago….”Fear Not.”