Picture it – Gabriel, the angel, comes to visit the virgin Mary to tell her she’s going to conceive and carry the Son of God in her womb. But rather than get excited, she has a different response.
“Pregnant??!! But I’m engaged to be married! Do you really think Joseph is going to believe that God made me pregnant? And let’s not forget that by Jewish law I can be stoned for being promiscuous! No one will believe I didn’t sleep around. Nope, I’m not going to do it! I refuse!!!”
Obviously, this didn’t happen, but what if it had? What if Mary hadn’t been so amicable? Although the scenario above didn’t actually happen, it could have. If you carefully read the account in Luke 1:34-38, it makes it clear that when Gabriel came to visit Mary, she wasn’t pregnant yet. She could have told him she didn’t want to become pregnant with the Son of God.
“Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’ The angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God… For nothing will be impossible with God.’ And Mary said, ‘Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.’ And the angel departed from her.”
Mary didn’t have to accept God’s gift of being the one to be the mother of the Son of God. Joseph didn’t have to believe Mary was pregnant with God’s Son. He didn’t have to marry her; he could have chosen to make her a public spectacle. The shepherds and wise men didn’t have to go visit the baby Jesus. Simeon and Anna didn’t have to believe they would see Israel’s Savior. They could have given up hope long ago and not been in the temple waiting to see the Messiah.
Every person had the choice to be selfish – to look out for themselves and no one else. Yet think of all they would have missed! Because they chose to take God at His Word and believe His promises, they saw God in huge, powerful ways.
It’s the same with us. We all have a choice. When life is hard, will we cling to God and hold on to His promises, or will we give up hope? Will we choose to believe when the circumstances around us scream that trusting God is pointless?
Life isn’t always going to be easy, even for those who honor God in all they say and do. It wasn’t easy for Mary and Joseph to be obedient to God. In fact, because of their obedience to Him their lives were filled with more challenges. Yet because of those challenges, they also got to see God deliver them from those problems in astounding ways. They were privileged to see angels, they had dreams and visions, they met men from far away who worshipped the Son of God, they, along with Jesus, were spared from death on more than one occasion, and their every need was provided. Yes, they had big problems, but they also got to know firsthand the power of an Almighty God who was guiding and protecting them.
So whatever you’re facing at this time, know there is a purpose to your problems. God hasn’t abandoned you. Choose to believe Him no matter what. Hold on to His promises. Cling to hope. Trust Emmanuel – God with us.
“And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.” ~ Luke 1:45
© December 19, 2013