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Most of us have heard the story of Jesus countless times. We’ve heard about how the angel Gabriel told Mary she would bring forth the Son of God into the world. We focus on how the Virgin Mary was chosen out from all the women in the world to be Jesus’ mother – God chose her to bear His very own Son! This all sounds incredible.
The realities of 2000 years ago
Take a step back, though. This was over 2000 years ago. How would an unexpected pregnancy have seemed, before the story of Christ became known throughout history? Mary was a good girl, and engaged to be married – to a God-fearing and righteous man. The likelihood was that people would have jumped to conclusions and assumed the worst.
I can imagine the thoughts swirling through her head as the angel Gabriel stood before her. How would it look when Mary became pregnant, long before she was wed? Joseph would surely be hurt and assume that she had been unfaithful, and this could have led to rejection, being shunned by loved ones, and likely even death by stoning. After all, who would believe that it was God who had done this miracle in her, with no witnesses to testify for Mary? She must have known that she could face great reproach and shame if she were to accept the task God asked her to take.
And yet, she responded with a simple and trusting “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38. Without hesitation, with complete trust in what God had planned for her life, she accepted both the blessing and the trials that were sure to come from doing as the angel told her she would.
How I can follow Mary’s example
When God prompts me to do something – to be obedient to what I read in His Word, or points out something that should have been done differently – do I accept it willingly and graciously? Do I trust that He knows and plans all things; that His thoughts are higher than my thoughts? Even when it doesn’t make sense – when the logical thing to do is not what God is telling me to do – what is my reaction then?
It might be easier to do God’s will when I know there is a blessing that will come with it. But what about when people will look at me in a funny way? When my family will disagree with me for doing as it’s written? Or perhaps I’ll get teased for being religious, shunned for “discriminating” against actions and behaviors, despised for not accepting views and opinions made popular in today’s society. What then? Do I think of the blessing, when I know I’ll be misunderstood, or even despised and rejected by the world? Where is my trust and confidence then?
Mary’s love for her Lord God and her desire to be obedient to His Word outweighed the cost of reproach and shame. She knew that she could be despised on earth in her time, and still accepted God’s plan for her. Truly is she blessed among women. (Luke 1:42)
When I know there is a cost to pay – when God asks me to sacrifice my honor, my ego, my good name before people, and countless other things that He shows me, for the sake of my own salvation – it is vital that I follow in Mary’s example to present myself as a servant for God, willing to do as He asks, no matter what the earthly consequences may be.
Just think of the glorious results that came from Mary’s simple obedience! God could bring forth His only begotten Son into the world so that we could receive everlasting life! Obedience is a precious thing to God that can have far-reaching and glorious results that we can’t even dream of. God is a rich rewarder of those who serve Him.