“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” (Luke 1:34)
It is easy for us to think of God as being too busy with more important matters to be involved in my insignificant life in my insignificant corner of the world. As a result, even though we go through the motions of living a cheerful, hope-filled life, underneath the surface we live a life of quiet desperation, for what hope is there that, on our own, our life will make a difference that matters? None.
In chapter 1 of Luke’s biography of Jesus, we have accounts of two surprising pregnancies. Zechariah and Elizabeth were old and infertile, but they were promised a baby boy who would prepare the way for the Messiah, God’s special representative sent to save the world. Mary, a poor teenage girl in an insignificant village in the remote region of Galilee was told that she would be the mother of the Messiah. Through miraculous means, the all-powerful God of the universe would make a temporary home in her womb and she would play a significant role in ushering God’s divine rescue into the brokenness that surrounded her.
Much has been made of the difference between how Zechariah and Mary were treated after they responded to such amazing news. Both had questions, but Zechariah was struck mute until after the birth of his son while Mary had no negative consequences at all.
The key to understanding why things happened as they did is evident in the words Zechariah and Mary used in forming their respective questions. Zechariah asked, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” Mary asked, “How will this be since I am a virgin?”
Zechariah asked for proof that would convince him what the angel Gabriel said was true. Mary believed what Gabriel said was true and was curious about how it would happen. Mary was open to the possibility of God working in and through her and Zechariah was not. So God gave him a 9 month “time-out” to think about it.
Over and over again in the Bible we see stories of God working in amazing ways through the very old, the very young, the poor, the weak, the foreigner and the outcast. But the most amazing story, and the one that runs through all the others, is the story of God Himself setting aside all the power, riches and glory of heaven to become just like you, a human being with an insignificant life in an insignificant corner of the world. And God worked through that human life of His to save the world and break down all the barriers between us and Him so all people could have a rich, full, abundant life with God. All because one poor, insignificant teenage girl said “Yes” to the possibility of God working through her.
Sometimes I wonder if there were other young women whom Gabriel approached prior to Mary, but they said, “No” to God working through them. I wonder how many there might have been. Of course, this is pure speculation on my part, but if there were any such young women, I think that they would have been filled with regret if they later found out what could have been.
I don’t want you to have regret over what could have been. The time to live a rich full life with Jesus is now. So I urge you to be open to God working in and through you. God loves you and He is constantly at work among the ordinary and insignificant. That’s were He does His best work. God can work in and through you.
Dear Lord, thank you for the way that You work through the ordinary and insignificant to accomplish great things. Help me to trust in Your love and be open to You working in and through me. Amen.