Mary was an ordinary girl from an ordinary town. Virgin, yes; sinless, no. This ordinary girl in this ordinary town received a message in the midst of her ordinary life. It was a message from God.
Do you ever get messages from God? Perhaps they come in the form of events; events that stop you in your ordinary tracks, and make you consider the extra-ordinary. Events like funerals, births, bankruptcy, and sunsets; events that cause us to stop and listen.
“Fear Not!” That is the first thing Mary hears. In fact, it seems to be the first thing all angels say. The phrase seems to acknowledge a person’s fear while at the same time preparing them for something new. For Mary, the something new was to be the planting of a seed within her womb. A baby would grow in her which had not been planted in the usual way, and which would not grow into the usual person. It was a seed of new life. Not only new life, but also new hope.
What kinds of seeds does God want to plant in you? The rekindling of a relationship or career? The clarification of a life’s purpose? Hope in one’s soul? The normal and immediate reaction is fear; fear of the extraordinary. And God says to you: “Fear not!”
At this point in the angel’s message, Mary is unable to move past the ordinary. She sees an obstacle to God’s plan and asks the question “How can this be?” for she had not traveled the ordinary path to pregnancy: she had never “been” with a man.
Can you move past the ordinary? What obstacles do you lay before God? Perhaps you say that you are not smart enough, or rich enough. You think you are not good enough; certainly no “virgin girl.” In the midst of your ordinary circumstances you, too, say to God “How can this be?”
God answers Mary with the statement “I will overshadow you.” In other words, she didn’t have to manipulate circumstances, engineer relationships, or otherwise try to accomplish this extraordinary thing.
God’s answer to Mary is also His answer to you. He knows you are ordinary, and that is why He chooses you; that way there will be no doubt about Who is at work within you.
Mary, an ordinary girl in an ordinary town, submits to God. In fact, she wholeheartedly surrenders to God. She says this: “I am the Lord’s servant; may it be to me as you have said.” She is willing to be inhabited, stretched, and ridiculed for His sake; for Christ’s sake.
Say it! “I am the Lord’s servant; may it be to me as You have said.” When you say yes to God, He will inhabit you. He will birth in you what you could not grow on your own. This will not be without pain and discomfort. Your soul will bear the stretch-marks of life. But the outcome of surrender to God is always the same: new life!