Mary: Favored, Trusted and Faithful

This past year I’ve spent a lot of time with Mary.  My favorite account of the birth of Jesus is in Luke chapters 1 & 2.  It strikes me that even though this is the most detailed account as far as Mary is concerned, it’s still pretty short.  Two chapters to encompass all that she must have felt, feared, thought and believed in what had to have been one of the most devastating and amazing moments in her life and her husband’s.

We meet Mary and Joseph as a young engaged couple, unremarkable really up to this point in their lives.  They were both faithful followers of God and upstanding in their community.  People thought well of them.  But God saw something more in them.  They weren’t just good people who went to synagogue and followed the rules.  They believed in a God who watched over their lives and that encountered His people; spoke to them, touched their lives.  It was because of this, that God chose them for the most precious and important of tasks; arguably the most important thing God has ever asked any regular person to do.  He wanted to trust them with His Son.  Jesus would come to the earth to point the way to salvation and ultimately to die so all people could have a personal relationship with God but first, He needed to grow up and be cared for and God thought Mary was the woman for the job.

As I studied the life of Mary, I have gleaned such beautiful truths from her life and her story.  These are just a few of the truths that have challenged me and encouraged me this year.

She found favor with God. (Luke 1:30)  When the angel Gabriel first came to Mary, he began by telling her that she had found favor with God and even referred to her first, not by her name, but by a title given to her by God himself; favored woman.  I know, in reading this part of the story, that I have often felt like Mary must have been so much better than me in many ways; more holy, more humble…  It is hard for me to imagine God finding favor with me when I am here with me all the time.  I hear myself talk and react and see myself stand idle sometimes when I should act.  I know that God also sees all of that.  How could he find favor with me?  

But, in truth, Mary was not any more than I am now.  She was a regular woman.  I can imagine that she feared public disapproval, feared that she would not be believed, maybe even feared that she wasn’t up to the task of raising any baby much less the Son of God!  What is important to understand is that God did not call her “favored woman” because she was perfect.  He called her “favored woman” because she was His.  He called her “favored woman” because He loved her.  God does not ask us to be perfect.  He asks us to be repentant when we sin, obedient when we are called and faithful as we walk with Him.  Perfection is not on the table for us.  We don’t walk this journey hoping to become god one day.  We walk this journey knowing that God wants us with him even in our imperfection, in our impatience, in our fear and in our anxiety.    He calls us “favored women” because He loves us and desires a relationship with us.

God trusted Mary. (Luke 1: 31-33)  The angel told Mary that God had chosen her and Joseph to deliver and care for His Son until He was an adult.  I’ll pause here while that sinks in.  If it had been me, I’d need a second to get my jaw off the floor.  I cannot imagine feeling less qualified for a job!  Mary was an unmarried woman with no children.  She didn’t even have a history of raising children to draw on.  As a mom, I know that the first child is often the guinea pig on which you try all of the things that you eventually realize don’t work and all children after that benefit from the trials they suffered through.  Can you imagine doing all that guess work with God’s Son?  In short, I’m sure the idea was intimidating.  The book of Luke says that Mary was “disturbed and confused” when the angel first approached her.  

In the midst of all the confusion and fear, the answer was really simple.  God trusted Mary.  He chose her for this calling.  She was the one He had prepared before she even knew He was doing it.  Her whole life had been leading her to this important task and He trusted her with His Son.  He believed in her.  Many of us are taught from childhood to believe in God but how many of us are told that He believes in you?  Well, He does.  If He did not believe you, He would not have called you.

Mary trusted God. (Luke 1:38)  “Mary responded, ‘I am the Lord’s servant.  May everything you have said about me come true.’”  Mary trusted that in all that followed, He would be with her.  She knew that Joseph could divorce her publicly and she could be stoned for what others would assume she had done wrong.  She knew that many would never believe that she was pregnant without ever having had relations with a man.  She knew that if Joseph was merciful to her, that others would assume it was his baby and he would suffer public ridicule.  She knew that her parents would be looked down upon.  There was so much at stake here!  How could God ask this of her?

She knew that if He was asking, He would protect her and everyone around her.  She knew that this Baby was destined to be the Messiah that would save His people.  She knew that for that to happen, He had to live and she trusted God to take care of them all.

The Bible is our love letter from God.  It was written to show us who He is and to tell us how much we are loved by Him.  I did not study the story and character of Mary the mother of Jesus for the past year to learn about her.  I studied the Word of God to learn who He is.  He calls me and you “favored woman.”  He walks beside us because He loves us!  He has called us each to a unique and specific ministry for which He was preparing us before we even knew that He was.  He trusts you.  He believes in you.  We may not have been called to deliver and raise the Son of God into adulthood but we have been entrusted with carrying Him to our mission field.  Wherever He is calling you, He will go with you.  God is trustworthy.  He prepared this ministry for you and you for this ministry.  He will equip you and prepare the way before you. “For the Word of God will never fail.” (Luke 1:37) 

Be encouraged today, sister.  You are loved and you are trusted by a trustworthy God!  Don’t just believe that today, share it.  Encourage someone who needs to know that she is a “favored woman” in God’s sight and that she has been trusted with important work by a trustworthy God because He loves her.  After all, we truly are Better Together!   

“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! For He took notice of His lowly servant girl, and from now on all generations will call me blessed.” Luke 1:47-48

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