Today's post comes from my friend Barbara Higby over at The Hope Perspective. Her great insight into Mary's encounter with Gabriel moved me deeply and makes me want to be more like Mary.
"Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you." Luke 1:28
Mary had plans. She was engaged to be married to an honorable man. Likely, her expectations were to be a faithful wife, a good Jewish mother, and a prudent housewife as a Jehovah worshiping Hebrew woman. Her expectations would be fulfilled, but not as she anticipated. A surprise visit from the angel Gabriel drastically changed the dimension of her dreams. They were no longer confined to the home of a carpenter in Nazareth but took on world shaking significance.
Gabriel presented Mary with the astonishing news that she would be a virgin mother—a mother of God. How could she wrap her mind around such a thought? The child’s conception would be unnatural, miraculous, inexplicable—an immaculate conception. Mary would never be the same; the world would never be the same. The significance of this prediction would change history. She had but one thing asked of her. The only request the angel made was, “Do not be afraid.”
How could this young girl not fear pregnancy? How could she explain a conception that did not take her virginity? How could she marry when pregnant? How could anyone, Joseph included, believe the truth?
But Mary heeded Gabriel's words. She set aside her fears and ten verses later we see this highly favored young woman respond as a humble servant. “I am the Lord’s servant…. May it be to me as you have said” (Luke 1:38).
Lord, Director of history, Ruler of earth, omniscient Father, loving Master, Your plan is always greater, bigger, more complex, farther reaching than we can imagine. Help us to internalize that truth so that we will not fear but, in every situation, say with Mary, “I am the Lord’s servant…. May it be to me as you have said.”