The verse God gave me for this year was Luke 1:45, and it is in reference to Mary: “And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.” Because that verse is found in the middle of the Christmas story, I have been reminded of it a number of times in recent weeks…. And each time it has been a much needed reminder!
As I reread the passage again recently, focusing specifically on this verse, I noticed a note in my Bible – a reference to verse 20 of the same chapter. Near the beginning of the chapter, we find Zacharias serving the Lord in the temple when Gabriel shows up and gives him the news that he’ll be a father. There are extraordinary words spoken about the son that Zacharias and his wife, Elizabeth will have. I will admit that it would be a lot to process, but Zacharias obviously doesn’t respond in the way the angel hoped he would…
In verse 18, Zacharias asks, “How will I know this for certain? For I am an old man and my wife is advanced in years.” Gabriel’s response, found in verses 19-20, is pretty pointed. “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. And behold, you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time.”
Wow. Don’t mess with Gabriel when he tells you a promise from God.
As I looked back at the passage where Gabriel was giving Mary her own extraordinary news, I noticed that she also asked a question of how it could be true based on her circumstances… The difference is that Mary only asked how her news could be true, not how she could be sure it was true…
Mary didn’t ask for proof. Even in the midst of wondering how God might actually pull off this ‘impossible’ thing, she simply believed. And she was blessed for her faith.
The other thing I find interesting about this chapter is that both Zacharias and Mary received the promises. They each had the son that Gabriel told them about, and they both had their words of praise to God recorded in the chapter. The difference is that Zacharias had to wait more than nine months to be able to praise God aloud.
As I look at the promises God has spoken to me, the reasons that Luke 1:45 is my verse for the year, I wonder which of these responses mine most resembles… Unfortunately, I’m afraid that far too often it looks like Zacharias’. And while my physical voice hasn’t been affected, my ability to praise God in the hearing of others certainly has been!
The consequences of Zacharias’ doubt has painted a powerful picture in my mind. As one who feels like the ministry God has given me has much to do with my ability to communicate through teaching, writing, and even singing, the loss of that ability would be a significant hindrance to fulfilling God’s purposes for me. And yet every time I doubt the promises of God, I am hindering my ability to proclaim His goodness and truth.
So, once again, I choose to trust. I may not understand how His promises can come to pass in my life. In the natural they seem nearly impossible – or at least still very distant – but as Gabriel told Mary, “…nothing will be impossible with God.”
Whatever dreams you’re holding onto, or even struggling to get a grip on, I encourage you to join me in declaring Mary’s response to the great news Gabriel spoke to her: “…may it be done to me according to your word.”