By Allen White
Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”
The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she’s now in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.”
Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her. Luke 1:34-38 (NLT)
The angel announced to Mary that she had “found favor with God.” I’m not sure that Mary at this point thought that God was doing her any favors. This is an interesting phrase that we read again in Luke 2:52 referring to Jesus “finding favor with God and all the people.” The word favor, if you remember from the Living a Balanced Life study, is rooted in the word for “grace.” This may simply imply that she was in God’s good graces. But, I see something more.
God had chosen Mary for a mission that in all practical ways would wreck the course of her life. Her reputation, her betrothal to Joseph, and her future were at stake here. But, Mary had God’s favor. His grace helped her to accept this mission.
Mary’s biggest fear was rejection. Who would understand this circumstance? A young, pregnant, unmarried virgin – who would accept such a tale? God, in His grace, provided a companion to Mary in Elizabeth, who also received a miraculous pregnancy. Though not an immaculate one, it was certainly explainable apart from God. While everyone else might have regarded Mary with suspicion, Elizabeth could relate to the fact that “nothing is impossible with God.”
What rare experiences have you had? More likely than not there is someone who needs you to walk alongside them. That person needs your understanding. Even the painful or embarrassing parts of our lives can be used to comfort another. Ask God who you can serve, then pay attention to who crosses your path.