July 5

Mary, Part 3

Luke 1:29-34 But when she saw [the angel Gabriel], she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son…

Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”

Luke 2:17-19 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.

Mary’s life and call has shown us that God can choose anyone He wants, from any place to any time to any background and circumstance. And happily, He doesn’t just choose those who don’t think, or feel, or get scared. Take a look at Luke 1:29: “[Mary] was troubled at [the angel’s] saying, and considered what manner of greeting it was.” Mary didn’t live in a spiritual state of ecstasy; she lived in the real world into which an agent of God came to speak to her. It’s only natural that she was “troubled” at what he said, and only normal that “she tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be” (English Standard Version). Anyone would be troubled, and it was a normal response to try to understand what was going on.

Since her conceiving without “knowing a man” was physiologically impossible, Mary had a logical question about how this was going to happen. This is a normal question, and God was kind and gracious enough to answer her. (This is in contrast to Zechariah’s similar question in the earlier part of Luke 1, which was based in unbelief—see verse 20—and was not a matter of confusion or curiosity.)

Mary had normal responses to having a powerful angel come into her presence and present her with a perplexing scenario about an out-of-wedlock pregnancy instigated by God and resulting in “the Son of the Most High.” Her doubts, thoughts, questions and fears were only natural, and God was gracious enough to deal with them.

God can handle our questions, thoughts, confusions and fears. He isn’t put off by them, as long as our heart is poised to obey Him. “For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14). Mary’s spiritual posture was already to say yes to God, and she just possessed a few obvious questions. She didn’t need answers to them to decide whether or not to obey God. She didn’t need to “think things through” to make up her mind about whether or not to embrace His will.

How encouraging to know that God uses people who have questions and fears, and who have logical minds. How gracious He showed Himself to Mary in meeting her at her level. If we position ourselves to do His will as Mary did, who knows how God may meet us at ours!

Prayer: Lord, You have shown us that You use normal folks—people who get troubled, have questions, and ponder things. Thank You that You were gracious enough with Mary to answer her questions and calm her fears. Let my questions be like hers, and not arising from unbelief. And may they come from a heart of faith that is ready to obey.

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