We have all been there too. We know that God has spoken because we have read His Word and know that it is the inerrant, infallible Word of God. We know He has spoken because we have had a Word spoken over our lives. We have been healed before. We have been delivered before. But maybe we find ourselves where Zechariah did that day. Too far removed from the promises being prayed for. Too far entrenched into the thinking of the world which dictates its own set of what is and is not plausible. We trust God, we believe God, but...how can we be sure? The doubt overtakes our faith and we approach God with a wavering heart. Asking for assurances from the creator of the universe! The response is the key verses today. Gabriel would shut the doubting mouth of Zechariah until the promise is brought to pass. There are always consequences for our doubt. Sometimes it is the doubt that causes the very delay we lose faith over! Mary however, exercises the faith God is looking for:
Mary asked the angel, "But how can this happen? I am a virgin." Luke 1: 34 (NLT)
At first glance, we might fall into the trap of thinking Mary was doubting here but not if we examine it closely. Mary is not asking for assurances. She is not expressing that what the angel said could not be done. She is asking how it will be done, since she was a virgin (and a young teenage girl as well). Here is the answer from Gabriel:
angel replied, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most
High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be
called the Son of God. What's more, your relative
Now picture this for a minute. You are a teenage girl who is still unmarried. You are visited by an angel of God who tells you that you will become pregnant. Confused, you ask how that will occur and the answer is that not only will you be pregnant, but you will be pregnant with God and His spirit will be the Father as well. Do you think for one second this clarified anything for Mary? Do you think she now understood what was happening? I would venture to guess that this response furthered her confusion. Faced with an opportunity to approach God with faith or doubt, Mary chooses faith:
Mary responded, "I am the Lord's servant. May everything you have said about me come true." And then the angel left her. Luke 2: 38 (NLT)
Was Mary sure of everything that was going to happen to her? No. But she knew who she was a servant of. Was she basking in peace, knowing that she would have to explain to people, including Joseph, that her baby out of wedlock was from God? I would not think so but she knew that when you receive a Word from God you can rely upon that Word. The result of her faith was God's hand directing the affairs of their household, fulfilling the plan He had for all mankind through the faith of a teenage girl. You know the enemy was whispering in Mary's ear. "What is everyone going to say?" "Virgins can't get pregnant; it's impossible!" "You must have imagined it."
Likewise, we are often confronted with these moments of faith versus doubt. And likewise we too will hear the whisperings of the enemy. "God must not have promised that to you; it's been too long." "You cannot be healed from this; you heard what the doctor said" "The Bible is just words; believe your eyes!"