Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Posture of Belief

Believe by the unquiet librarian
Flickr.com_5215537173_0aff0e9598_CC BY -ND 2.0
"Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her!" Luke 1:45

Believing God's promises isn't always easy, especially when He promises the impossible.

I often marvel at Mary's experience with the angel Gabriel, in the Christmas story. There she was, a simple Jewish maiden, minding her own business, maybe hanging laundry, walking back from the market or drawing water from the well, when suddenly Gabriel greets her as God's "highly favored" one.

Scripture doesn't say Mary cowered from his large stature or trembled at the sound of his booming voice. So, not wanting to frighten her, I imagine Gabriel may have seemed a plain man; someone whom Mary would not be afraid. But what did frighten her was Gabriel's greeting. "Greetings! You are highly favored. The Lord is with you!" (Luke 1:28)

You can fill in the blanks. "Who? Me? Favored? By whom? God? Oh! You must have mistaken me for someone else. I'm just...well, I'm just...I'm only Mary."

But, Gabriel reassured Mary that indeed, God favors her and has chosen her to be the mother of His son, Jesus and lets her in on a secret. Her cousin Elizabeth, barren and beyond normal childbearing age, is also pregnant.

"Wait...what? How? I mean...I'm not yet married, so...Elizabeth, too? But she's barren and very old."

And to reassure her that all God has promised is true, Gabriel replies, "For no word from God will ever fail" (Luke 1:37). Yowza! Brought up a devout Jew, she knows God's word is powerful and true. But, her whole world was just turned upside down. How would she, a Jewish, virgin, a betrothed maiden, make her family, (let alone her fiancé, Joseph), believe that her pregnancy was not illegitimate but rather incarnate and divine?

Whether she truly believed Gabriel's words were from God, scripture says that Mary humbled herself, called herself the Lord's servant and placed her belief, her faith in God's words spoken to her through Gabriel.

Yet, facing a real threat of death, she high tailed it to the hill country, to Elizabeth's home. Upon arriving, she sees that indeed, Elizabeth was pregnant. Filled with the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth prophesies over Mary in a loud voice, "Blessed are you among women and blessed is the child you will bear!...Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her!" (Luke 1:42,45).

Again, there is so much left unsaid, but I imagine, the Holy Spirit also blessed Mary, for scripture quotes, "Mary's Song" of worship, faith and truth that what was prophesied about the Messiah was going to be fulfilled in her and through her for all generations.

Sometimes we hold onto God's whispered, seemingly impossible, promises for years. We wonder if we got it right, if we really heard God or were we mistaking God's voice for our own. There are no answers as to why God fulfills His promises sooner for some, but what we can glean from Mary is this: she postures herself in worship, as a servant of God before her belief caught up with her.

If your holding onto impossible, God-spoken promises, be assured, God favors you and God's words never fail.

If you've joined me today from {re}fresh, welcome!

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