I have often contemplated Mary’s dilemma upon learning that she would become pregnant by a living but unseen God. While her initial response provides an entire commentary on humility and faith when faced with an impossible task, there is little doubt that her walk would have been one rife with humiliation, disappointment, unjust suffering, and shame. Although premarital pregnancies are commonplace today, it was not the case during Mary’s lifetime. I can only imagine the tremendous amount of trust it must have taken to carry out such a monumental task faithfully. I suppose that this is why God selected Mary.
Though she may not have realized it, God knew His daughter’s heart.
He understood the painful journey ahead of her and knew He could trust her to complete it faithfully. When Gabriel approached her, declaring her ‘blessed and highly favored,’ he was not just speaking of her walk up until that moment.
He was prophesying about her future.
God knew exactly where her walk would take her. He knew about Simeon and Anna waiting at the temple. He knew the trepidation that would fill her heart as she looked anxiously for her missing son, potentially lost among the throngs of travelers. He foresaw her lonely nights, and He was unsurprised by her broken heart at the foot of the cross.
And still, He chose her. He knew she was trustworthy.
Mary was not perfect. She was as human as you and I. But Mary chose faith. She decided to trust Her Lord and believe in an all-powerful and all-knowing God to accomplish an impossible task. And because of that, God would use her to bring forth the extraordinary.The incubation process for the extraordinary is never easy. Click To Tweet
It will almost always require us to release personally held plans to be able to receive those of the Purpose-Giver. I am sure Mary, a young woman in the first century B.C., dreamed of having sons after marriage. But, God’s purpose for her life required that she trust Him with that dream, and in exchange, she was able to be a mother to the most incredible son ever to be born of a woman whose father was God, Himself.
Hannah was tormented and emotionally abused by a woman who seemed blessed to be the sole heir of their husband’s legacy. Yet, although she may have felt broken and worn, God had plans to call Hannah’s not-yet-conceived son to participate in His legacy. Her eldest son, Samuel, would live to become the man hand-chosen by God to bring His people back to Himself, bring honor back to His temple, speak to His people as His prophet, and anoint Israel’s first two kings. But first, Hannah had to be willing to do the unthinkable. She had to give up her son. She had to let go of the child she had cried over, longed for, and prayed desperately about, trusting God’s plan over her own.
Living during a time when “Israel had no king, and everyone did what seemed right in their own eyes,” Deborah demonstrates courage and faithfulness against a backdrop of unfaithful and often faithless judges. During this era of history, the roles of men and women were clearly defined and typically distinct. Regardless of our personally held beliefs on these issues, we should all be able to agree that Deborah’s assignment as a judge over Israel speaks volumes of her capability and credibility.
Of all the judges, only Deborah and Samuel were referred to as a prophet or prophetess. Like Joshua and Moses, she heard from God and was chosen to give His Word to His people. She was so highly regarded that Barak, whom God had appointed to lead His army, would not go into battle without her. Because she had proven trustworthy to God and the people, God used her to encourage an army to rise against and defeat Israel’s oppressors. Interestingly enough, it was yet another courageous woman, Jael, who would claim the glory of the battle.
God uses this type of remarkable faith to accomplish His purpose. These are the kinds of lives that God uses to incubate the extraordinary. We will all experience seasons when we have been doing our best to walk in obedience and submission, yet still, our lives seem rife with storms and inexplicable difficulty. If so, we can be assured God sees our faithfulness. And He knows our hearts. Hopefully, like Mary and Hannah, we will prove trustworthy, falling into His arms, facing our fears like Deborah or Jael, and offering our dreams to Him. I have little doubt that we will be surprised by what we get in return.
For more information on this topic, check out today’s Daily Hope & Prayer.