I’ve been thinking of Mary all autumn, and particularly now as we approach the Advent season. I recently read her story in Luke 1, and it kind of blew my mind a little bit.
Many of you know the story, after all, almost every North American knows the gist of the Christmas story. But have you ever really thought about it? According to scholars, Mary was probably somewhere between 12 to 14 years old at the time and she was engaged to be married to Joseph. In those days, engagement was as legally binding as marriage, but couples still waited until official marriage to consummate the wedding vows.
God sends an angel to speak with her (which is kind of mind-blowing in and off itself) and tells her that though she is a virgin, she will become pregnant with a baby who will be called Son of the Most High and that his kingdom will never end.
Can you even imagine what this would be like for Mary? How would she tell Joseph? What would he think? What would her family think; her community? I surely wouldn’t believe anyone who came and told me they were a virgin but she was pregnant by God’s divine hand. I would think this would be some very bad news for Mary at this time, in fact we learn that Joseph later has it in mind to quietly divorce her, until an angel also comes and talks to him. But that’s a side-note.
The angel tells Mary that the Holy Spirit will come on her, that the power of the Most High will overshadow her, and that no word of God will ever fail.
So Mary’s response is: “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.” (Luke 1:38 NIV)
I like how it is written in the King James Version: “be it unto me according to thy word”
Be it unto me.
Mary then goes to visit her cousin Elizabeth who is quite a lot older than her, but is also pregnant by God’s miraculous hand (with John the Baptist). The Bible tells us that upon hearing Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s baby leaped in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She exclaimed “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” (Luke 1:39-45)
What is it like for you when you are faced with something challenging or troubling in your life? I know for me, at least recently, I have forgotten a lot of His promises — or maybe I remembered them, but I have not believed them.
I asked people in my life and online to share with me some of their favourite promises from God, and it was overwhelming to read their responses. Promise after promise, right in my face.
- God loves me. John 3:16
- God will never leave me. Hebrews 13:5
- I will have everlasting life. John 3:16
- My worries can be laid to rest. 1 Peter 5:7
- I am His child. Galatians 3:26
- I am perfect in His eyes. Colossians 1:22
- He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Isaiah 40:29
- He will make my paths straight if I trust in Him and lean not on my own understanding. Proverbs 3:5-6
- I can be strong and courageous because God will be with me. Joshua 1:9
- God goes before me. He will never forsake me. Deuteronomy 31:8
- He will make my righteous reward shine. Psalm 37:5
- He is with me. He will strengthen me. He will help me. Isaiah 41:8-10,13
- He is with me! Isaiah 43:2
- He will guide me always. Isaiah 58:11
These are just a handful of God’s promises for us. Let’s believe that he will fulfill them for us! Let’s say “Be it unto me, Lord!” I think there is reason to believe that we will be blessed by believing these things for our lives.