Just imagine you are walking uptown one day, simply window shopping, and then from out of nowhere a stranger appears in front of you. Before you can really react, the stranger tells you an unimaginable thing is about to happen to you. Worse yet, you really won’t be able to explain it to anyone and they believe you. I mean your girlfriends have always thought you were a little bit of an exaggerator, but this, this is going to send them right over the edge! What would you do?
Honestly, I have not a clue how I would react, but there is one woman we can turn to for some guidance – Mary, the mother of Jesus.
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!” Luke 1:26-28 NLT
I can’t even imagine the look on Mary’s face. Can you? One minute she is going about her daily routine and the next she is face to face with an angel! As this encounter continues to unfold, Mary is told not only is she going to have a baby, but the baby of ALL babies, the Son of God.
The words falling on her ears must have been overwhelming to say the least, but keeping her wits about her, she doesn’t ask God to prove what is being said just how it will happen. I mean it’s a logical question. She’s a virgin.
So, Gabrielle explains how the conception will take place. And Mary’s response?
Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her. Luke 1:38 NLT
How could Mary be so calm about this? Everyone knows where babies come from and that they don’t come from virgins. Her reputation is about to be ruined. Her engagement to Joseph is now in danger, perhaps even her life.
Here’s what I think. I think the stories and sermons we have heard over the years that paints Mary as a naïve youth is misleading. Oh, it’s true she was young, most likely early in her teenage years, but naïve? No, Mary couldn’t have been. How can I be sure? I’m glad you asked.
Her reaction alone tells me that Mary was grounded in her faith. She has received a word from the Lord, and she accepted it without hesitation. As a Jewish girl, Mary would have been educated on the finer points of God’s word at home. A lack of formal education would not have kept her from learning of God’s promises to her people. No, this wasn’t a starry-eyed child, but a strong young woman whose identity was firmly in her God which allowed a fierceness to take over.
Could we draw that same kind of strength from God and accept the dreams He places before us? Absolutely, but the first person who must believe that God’s dream for us is uniquely designed for us is ourselves!
How many times will we pull back from Him and tell Him we can’t, when He firmly says “Yes, you can!”? How many times will we look in the mirror and deny that the person looking back at us was created for more? Mary shows us what it means to trust God completely and to lean not on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6).
So what if no one else believes the dream God has for us? The Bible is clear in Isaiah 55:10-11 that God’s word is enough:
“The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” NLT
No, Mary would have heard the stories told from generation to generation of how God was faithful to the Israelite people, how He rescue them from Egypt, parted the Red Sea, brought them into the land of Canaan and helped them to conquer it. Mary was convinced what the Lord said could be trusted.
She stepped out in faith. She didn’t run home to her parents first. There was no discussion with Joseph. She simply believed.
Is God calling you to more? Are you hesitant to believe God could give you such a dream? Or perhaps, you worry that no one will ever believe you.
One of my all-time favorite passages is 1 Corinthians 1:27:
Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. NLT
Let me assure you today that a God-sized dream will not fit you. You will not be enough to accomplish it. Many will doubt what God gives you. Why? Because God is in the business of bringing glory to Himself and revealing His power through us. Our creator doesn’t need our help to do anything. Yet in His grace, He allows us to be a part of His plan.
All He asks is for us to trust Him with the details and our willing participation.
Mary accepted a seemingly impossible task. She did not allow the societal norms or the people who surrounded her to influence her next steps. From the time Gabriel visited her to the moment Jesus was born, Mary remained obedient to God. She allowed no one to sway her. And to this day, no one has ever birthed a more perfect baby!
Lord, may we become convinced of Your love for us. May we understand the power in which You hold. May we grasp that any dream You place within us can be accomplished by You. Let us have the awareness to get out of Your way and allow You to fully execute such things in our lives. And may we be a shining example to others of what can be achieved if only they would believe! Amen.
Elaine is the founder of Transforming Love Ministries as well as the She Steps Forward conference. As a writer, speaker, and leadership coach, she is on a mission to empower everyday women to chase God-sized dreams. Elaine is available for one-to-one coaching and group coaching. For more information about coaching, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note all scripture was taken from the NLT – New Living Translation
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.