Your reputation is spotless. You strive for purity. You don’t flaunt your body for watching eyes, and you’ve never invited a man to cross a line with you.
You’re engaged to your childhood crush, and he’s crazy about you. He’s sweet, and you’re over the moon. Soon you’ll be married and will start a family of your own.
When “that time of the month” comes around, nothing happens. You feel nauseated. Every morning, you’re sick to your stomach, and no one knows why you don’t have the energy to do your daily chores. Your belly starts to grow. After several months, a rumor slowly starts circulating around town.
That pretty young girl is pregnant! Out of wedlock! What a disgrace. You’d think she’d know better than to go off on a trip and come back pregnant. Does anyone know who the father is?
You’d expected your fiancé to be heartbroken. He had thought of you so differently, with esteem, admiration, and true affection, and you were sure he’d barely be able to look at you once he learned the news. Who would expect him to marry a girl who’s pregnant with someone else’s child?
But that’s not how he responded.
He’s still kind and tender toward you. It’s as if, somehow, he’s got an inside scoop.
Not everyone has been so understanding.
Friends pretend not to see you on the street.
Some of your family is embarrassed to be associated with you.
You’re worried that everyone is whispering about what happened to the quiet girl who was devoted to purity.
Mary’s Reaction to God’s News
That might’ve been how Mary felt. Today we know Mary as the mother of Jesus, the virgin spoken of in Isaiah 7:14: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
But can you imagine how she might’ve felt when it became common knowledge that she was pregnant before marriage? When the angel Gabriel told her that God had chosen her as the one to carry the Savior of the world in her womb, did she feel overwhelmed by this news? The mission that God gave her wasn’t smooth sailing into popularity. In some people’s eyes, her reputation would be ruined forever.
But God calls us to do things and walk through seasons that we don’t understand. When Mary found herself in this situation, how did she react? Let’s open our Bibles to Luke 1 and take a look. As I read, I can’t help but notice three things.
1. Mary didn’t resist the unknown.
When the angel Gabriel explained God’s plan to Mary, she didn’t resist until she could see the whole picture for herself. But we often want all the details, don’t we?
I was babysitting a little girl recently, and she asked me to draw her a picture of a person. The drawing began with random lines and shapes, and before I was even halfway finished, she looked at the picture critically and said, “That doesn’t look like a person.”
She didn’t have the full perspective, so to her eyes, the picture was flawed and pointless. But it was only the beginning, and once I had created the whole picture, the seemingly pointless beginning stages made sense.
Mary could have easily reacted in a similar way, looking at the situation in front of her, the prospect of being shamed and condemned by the people she loved. She could’ve reacted to the only things she could see in the moment. Instead, Mary’s faith in God’s sovereignty allowed her trust to fall into a world of unknowns.
2. Mary’s surrender wasn’t conditional.
Her total surrender to God’s will wasn’t dependent on circumstances or what she could get out of the arrangement. For all she knew, her fiancé would leave her, she would no longer be welcome in her community, and her family would be embarrassed to be associated with a supposed adulteress. And she’d be left to raise a peculiar child all alone.
But Mary submitted to God’s calling, despite the unknown, despite her likely desire to live a straightforward, uncomplicated life with Joseph.
3. Mary didn’t demand answers from God.
Luke 1 mentions just one question that Mary asked, perhaps the most obvious and practical question: “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” (v. 34).
One question: If you were in her shoes, isn’t it true that a million questions would be popping into your head?
How could I possibly be pregnant?
Am I ready to be a mom now?
And to be the mother of the Son of God?
I’m not ready for this.
And what about Joseph?
What do I tell him?
And what happens when the baby is born?
How do I raise the Creator of the universe?
But Mary was content to ask one question, and as far as we know, she trusted God for the rest of the answers.
And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her (Luke 1:35–38).
Did you catch the significance of those words Mary spoke? They capture the heart of total surrender, total trust in God’s perfect plan and perfect timing.
“Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”
Are you in a season that just doesn’t make sense? You can’t see the whole picture, and questions are flooding your mind?
How is this going to work, God?
Don’t You see that this hurts, that this is causing me pain?
What are You even doing in this situation?
Mary’s example of faith—her belief in the impossible—can encourage our hearts to place all our trust in God.
- Have you found it difficult to trust God in a world of uncertainties?
- What inspires you about Mary’s trust in her Savior?