Vulgar. Adulteress. Worthless. Ruined. These are words that could’ve terrified Mary, soon-to-be-mother of Jesus, when the angel of the Lord told her she would conceive and bear a son. What will Joseph think? How am I to explain this to his family, to my family when Joseph rejects me?
Some* in our society would be just as concerned today as many would’ve been in Mary’s time. But what if it were us? If we took a pregnancy test as a single woman in a family that cherishes chastity, what would go through our minds?
Yet, Mary was different.
“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).”
To be fair, Mary was initially confused. In verse 34 she asks the angel how she, a virgin, could have a child. The angel then explained the power of the Holy Spirit and even told her about her cousin, Elizabeth’s, unlikely pregnancy to bear the son (John the Baptist) who would prepare the way for her son (Jesus). Mary disregarded the potential naysayers and accepted the words of the angel.
Now that is bold faith.
As it turns out, Mary knew the Father. Therefore she rejoiced in what the angel told her. I wonder how well we know our Father. Do we rejoice at unexpected news? What about potentially scandalous or life-changing news? I am the first to admit that I excel at worry and doubt – it is my super-power, which did not come from God.
What does come from God are many, many assurances, most of which center on Jesus. I’ve recently been shown an entirely new way to view the Bible (new to me, anyway): the Bible is the story of God’s redemption plan for man.** In His story, we see that we are completely incapable of righteousness on our own. We need a Savior, we need Jesus.
I believe it is time we recognize Jesus’ gift – that which we can never attain on our own – and full-heartedly embrace it. Like Mary, it is time for us to have faith boldly. We must:
- Boldly accept God’s sovereignty
- Boldly accept Jesus’ authority
- Boldly receive God’s mercy and Jesus’ gift
- Boldly receive God’s grace
- And, therefore, boldly give ourselves to God
“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” -Hebrews 4:16, NLT
Now is the time we need it most. “[Encourage] one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin (Hebrews 3:13, ESV).” Let’s stop letting our “super-powers” get in the way. God’s power – mighty and awesome as it is gracious and merciful – is the only thing we need.
Therefore, let us boldly approach the throne of grace – boldly go to the Lord in prayer – with full disclosure of our hearts, to accept Jesus’ gift, where we’ll receive God’s mercy and find His grace.
Now is the time of need. Have faith boldly!
Always seeking to be found in Him,
*I do not have those thoughts regarding unwed pregnant women, teens, or single mothers. Quite the contrary, I, and all Christians should, love them and afford them the same grace that Jesus gave me. And, I love babies! I also recognize that God has taken me on a radical journey that I wouldn’t have chosen for myself; I’m sure that is the case for us all. Sometimes life’s curve-balls are good for us…
**Priscilla Shirer’s Gideon study