According to Your Word

A girl's hands holding stalks of purple flowers, probably lavender.And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” —Luke 1:38, New American Standard Bible

When Gabriel appears to Mary, she doesn’t respond as most people would. She doesn’t

Scream in fright.

Dash away in terror.

Dismiss the angel as imagined or a trick of the light.

Ask for proof that the angel’s from God.

Refuse to listen.

No, Luke says Mary is “perplexed” by the angel’s greeting. Her perplexity results in pondering—a lot of it. Luke pointedly reports Mary “kept pondering what kind of salutation this is.”

The angel picks up on her confusion and wonderment. He explains why he greets her as “favored one,” telling her she will become pregnant with Jesus, the Son of the Most High. Mary doesn’t scoff at the words. Rather, she asks about logistics. “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”

The angel shares more details, saying the power of the Holy Spirit will come upon and overshadow her. He then shares some interesting and unexpected news; her relative, Elizabeth, is pregnant, too. He sums up the pregnancies of an elderly, barren woman and a young, virgin girl with a solitary statement: “For nothing will be impossible with God.”

Mary believes him. She doesn’t protest or ask for a reprieve. Neither does she voice the fears she had to feel. She knew becoming the favored one would result in a loss of people’s favor. Joseph would most likely annul their marriage contract; the people would treat her as an outcast, if not stone her for “loose behavior.”

Mary confesses none of those anxieties. She tells the angel, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” She accepts God’s will for her life with complete trust, much like a child.

Perhaps that childlike faith is what allows her to become the favored one. She submits to God, and God exalts her. He blesses her obedience and trust, entrusting his Son to her. However, the blessing doesn’t bring ease or comfort. No, it involves difficulty and sorrow.

Such a blessing might seem strange in today’s world. People sometimes view God as a sort of Santa. If they’re good, he’ll give them what they want. The thing is, God is God. He’s not Santa. He gives to people as he decides, and he will accomplish everything he’s promised and set into motion beginning in Genesis. He will receive glory, too, in all things, including the young Mary who makes herself a bondslave of God’s word.

Image: Marco Verch (Creative Commons)