I imagine the shock of the encounter she had that day stayed with her for many years.
As if it were not enough that this being shows up in her room from nowhere, he starts off by greeting her in a very unusual way. Almost with a hidden meaning.
“Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”
And I am sure Mary thought to herself, “What? Me? Highly favored? Blessed among women? Why?”
What followed must have frightened her to death. The implications that would come with this “blessing” were severe.
Who would ever believe her when she said, “No, I haven’t been immoral. The Holy Spirit did this to me”?
And yet we see in her a depth of faith to marvel at.
Often when we think of blessings, we instantly picture joyous scenarios where everyone is happy and life is great as we celebrate an achievement we have hoped for so long. Rarely do we envision situations where a blessing costs us our reputation and gives our loved ones reason to doubt our morals.
But this was the case for Mary. The angel calls her “blessed” and “highly favored” and yet that blessing will be the very thing that will cause her rejection among her family and peers – and very nearly causes the breakup of her engagement.
How would history have been altered had Mary considered this blessing too risky to accept?
What alternate plan would God have had to put in place to accomplish His desire to reconcile mankind unto Himself, had Mary decided that her reputation was more important?
Faith. It is so much more than the necessary ingredient for salvation. It is more than belief that God will provide for our needs. It is certainly more than trusting God for a new car or a better job. Mary shows us that faith has little to do with prosperity and has much to do with trust in uncertain times.
The faith we see in Mary is a solid trust that though her reputation be destroyed, God’s plan will prevail. It is the knowledge that though everything around her is unstable and uncertain, God will work it all out for good.
To Mary, it was more important that God’s will be accomplished than for her to be accepted by her peers.
Do we have that kind of faith?
If there is one thing I’ve learned from stories of the Bible it is that God will often times lead us into situations that seem unusually severe in order to use us for a purpose so grand that prior knowledge of that plan would have shaken us to our very core.
Think of Joseph and how he landed in jail on false charges, and was subsequently forgotten by the very person he lent a helping hand to.
Think of Esther, thrust into a position of power that likely appeared to be a denial of her very heritage, while her husband planned the annihilation of her people.
And now Mary is burdened with an unwed pregnancy under circumstances that literally no one would believe – apart from a divine visitation by a heavenly being.
And yet, each of these had an unshakeable faith in times when it seemed that their very existence was being shattered.
Are you facing an uncertain future right now? Has God led you into what seems the valley of the shadow of death? Dear sister, this valley is merely the workshop of the Lord. He is forming and shaping you in this dark season for something far greater than you can imagine.
Just like Mary, you can trust your uncertain future in the hands of a certain God.