Mary - Obedient Servant
By Candy Arrington
"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said."
Gabriel's visit to Mary was unexpected and terrifying. But despite her fear and confusion, Mary didn't run from the situation. Instead, she listened with enough composure to understand the announcement. Then she asked a simple question, "How can this be?"
Mary didn't question God's call on her life. She only asked for clarification. She wanted to understand the mechanics of how something that seemed in opposition to natural law could be accomplished. Once the angel answered that question, she yielded herself totally to God's plan.
I can imagine that if an angel appeared to a teenage girl today with this shocking news - you're going to have a baby, although you are a virgin and unwed - there would be numerous questions or an exclamation of "No way!" I'm sure Mary realized the potential problems inherent in God's mission for her life yet she didn't voice any of those. Instead she calmly trusted that if this was God's plan for her it must be the best plan.
This tells us something of Mary's relationship with God. Her faith was obviously deep enough for her to offer herself as a willing servant. Perhaps it was Mary's servant-heartedness that caused God to select her as the one "highly favored among women." It seems appropriate that God chose this obedient teenage girl to be the mother of a child who would later offer himself in the greatest act of servanthood ever.
The Bible leaves us in suspense about the specific reaction of Mary's parents to her news. Perhaps they were skeptical of the authenticity of her story or even angry and disappointed with her. Clearly, part of the way they handled the situation was to send her to stay with Elizabeth, out of public view and away from gossiping tongues.
Joseph was embarrassed by Mary's pregnancy and planned to distance himself from her by breaking their engagement. When the angel appeared to him, verifying Mary's story, Joseph also acted in obedience to God's plan for their lives.
I'm sure that Mary, Joseph, and their families experienced all the conflicting emotions that we do today when faced with a situation that seems out of our control and life-altering. Sometimes God asks us to do things that bring skepticism and criticism from those around us. Often, obedience to God's will involves some degree of discomfort.
Although Mary found favor with God, her life was not without suffering. Upon seeing the infant Jesus in the temple, Simeon predicted that a sword would pierce Mary's soul. Mary was alive during Jesus' ministry, his arrest, trial, and present when he was crucified. She saw the fulfillment of God's plan, but she also endured a mother's anguish as she watched her son die a brutal death.
The true test of our faith and trust comes in our obedience to God. I wonder what would happen if, like Mary, we willingly offered ourselves, without questions or delay, to God's purpose and plan for our lives.
Copyright © 2003 Candy Arrington. Used with permission.
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Candy Arrington's publishing credits include The Lookout, Encounter, Focus on the Family, Clubhouse, The Upper Room, The Writer, and Writer's Digest. She is coauthor ofAftershock: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B & H Publishing Group) andWhen Your Aging Parent Needs Care: Practical Help for This Season of Life (Harvest House Publishers). Candy and her husband, Jim, live in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where she writes about the lessons God is teaching her. www.CandyArrington.com
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