Has God ever called you to do something for which you felt utterly unprepared? That is what happened to Mary when she was visited by the angel Gabriel. Mary was young, and Nazareth was an obscure village (population 400). Her knowledge of life beyond her town was limited, yet she had developed a noble character and a remarkable faith.
Luke introduced her, saying only “a virgin pledged to be married” (v. 27). Later, he repeated the fact of her virginity and added her name, Mary (“excellence”). Luke’s word for “virgin” is unmistakable in its importance. Mary had never had sexual relations with a man, though she was betrothed to Joseph, descendant of David. The significant subtext was that the birth announced by Gabriel could only be orchestrated by God.
Mary was alone when Gabriel greeted her, saying literally, “Grace to you, graced one.” Then he assured her of the Lord’s presence with her personally. Mary initially felt confused (“greatly troubled”) by this greeting, but she mulled over the words, trying to understand (v. 29). Gabriel explained that she had “found favor with God” (v. 30), and He will use her in an unprecedented way—to carry and raise the Son of God and eternal King of kings.
Mary missed some of the significance of this pronouncement since she focused on the process. “How will this be,” she asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” (v. 34). Gabriel answered with a shocking- ly simple explanation of Holy Spirit conception and a concrete confirmation of another baby, this one born into barrenness. “No word from God will ever fail” (v. 37).
The encounter ended with Mary’s humble vow of obedience. We don’t know everything she felt. But before the angel left, she declared, “May your word to me be fulfilled” (v. 38).
>> God still uses the humble and seemingly unremarkable to do His work. Perhaps He is asking something of you today? Ask God for the wisdom and courage to obey.
The things You lead us to do sometimes don’t make sense, God. Give us faith like Mary’s—not only to discern Your calling on our lives but also to accept and obey Your will.