Meditations on Luke
“The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.” “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.” Luke 1:35-38, NIV
The angel, Gabriel, just finished explaining to Mary how she would miraculously conceive. Now, he gives her the reason why. “So the holy one that is born will be called the Son of God.” If this did not make Mary’s head real, Gabriel continues.” Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her 6th month.”
Notice, Gabriel preferences his statement with “Even Elizabeth…” It’s almost like he is saying, “By the way, look how my power extends elsewhere. See, even Elizabeth is pregnant!” It is as if Gabriel is bolstering his credibility by sharing another miraculous event. How compassionate and kind it is to share the news about Elizabeth at such a time as this. For if any seeds of doubt existed in Mary, the miraculous news about her cousin would have helped assuage them. In fact, it may have encouraged Mary like it does us when we hear the praises of answered prayers from our friends. Such news of God’s work in Elizabeth’s life surely would have strengthened Mary’s trust and belief in God during this pivotal moment.
With one final statement, Gabriel brings it all home. “For no word from God will ever fail.” In other words, what he has spoken will come to pass. Once more the character of God is showcased. “For He spoke, and it came to be. He commanded it stood firm.” (Psalm 33:9) When God speaks, it will happen. How immensely comforting this truth is. In a world where we are constantly disappointed, it is reassuring to know that when God says it will be, it will be. God’s Word never fails us and God, Himself, will never fail us. Praise the Lord for this truth!
What is amazing to me is the faith, trust, belief, and submission which Mary exhibits. Her only response up to this point was one of wonderment and awe. Yet, her very next response was one of complete submission and acceptance. And even with the incomprehensible nature of what Gabriel just shared, Mary believes. We know this because later in verse 45, Elizabeth who is filled with the Holy Spirit issues forth a blessing and proclamation. “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her.” Despite the incredulity of it all, Mary believed and Mary trusted.
I asked myself if I would have responded in the same way as Mary. In my earthly, fleshly self, I do not think I would have been as yielded as Mary. For where I would have said, “What do you mean? This is ludicrous,” Mary responds with, “I am the Lord’s servant, may your word to me be fulfilled.”
Mary is an example of what our response to God should be. What she is saying to the Lord is, “do what you want. I am your servant.” Mary is doing what we should do at all times. She is placing God as Master and Lord of our lives. She accurately views herself as being used by God in whatever manner He sees fit because we are the created and not the Creator. She comes from a posture of humility and does not elevate herself as we often do to false positions of grandeur. So often we attribute false greatness to ourselves instead of seeing ourselves as meek and lowly. Her humble submission is reflected in her final statement. “May your word to me be fulfilled.”
Like Mary, our hearts equally need to be yielded to God when something hard and unexpected happens to us. We need this posture of humble acceptance. This idea that we are in control of our own lives is so dangerous. It is a lie. If we subscribe to this lie, it gives a faulty lens from which to view life. For when we believe we are in control, we believe we possess the power to be God in our own lives. Then, when we are thrown a curve ball, we either crumble or try to wrestle that thing into submission. When in reality it is us who need to wrestle sinful nature into submission and surrender ourselves to God’s Will.
May God help us take on a posture of yielded trust and belief in Him, especially during difficult circumstances. For the God of miracles is our God who can intercede in our own lives. The God who can make the infertile bear children, the virgin to conceive, and who raises dead men back to life, is a God whom we can trust with our most difficult problems and deepest pains.
Prayer: Oh God, forgive me for my unbelief. Help me to trust You and have faith. Help me to yield and submit to all that You are doing in my life whether it is good, or it is bad. Mold me, oh God, after You and make me Your humble servant. Amen.