God never made a promise that was too good to be true. – Dwight L. Moody
Mary knew it.
Imagine this: It’s a late Sunday afternoon. You have just finished skimming the Sunday paper and swallow the last few sips of your now lukewarm coffee, as you head towards the bedroom for a short nap. It is, after all, the day of rest. As you enter the bedroom, terror and wonder simultaneously crash over you as if caught in the violent waves of an unrelenting undertow. “Greetings.” In shock, you find yourself staring up into the face of a large, shining creature, resembling a man, yet much too large to in fact be one. You’re speechless, but luckily he’s not.
He tells you not to be afraid. God favors you! So you are going to get pregnant with the Son of the Most High. Huh, you think to yourself. That’s favor? Because unlike today, when you might be the object of some human judgement for carrying a child before being formally and legally married, Mary faced death. Betrothed partners during Mary’s life were considered “husband and wife,” though they were not yet considered married. Sexual relations during this period were considered immoral, and sexual unfaithfulness to your betrothed during this period was considered adultery. Adultery, under Mosaic law, was punished with death by stoning.
Great. God chose you to bear His Son, but they might kill you for it! (And you thought seeing an angel was terrifying!) Yet Mary praised Him, when I would have cried out from my weepy heap on the floor, “Why me!? Do you know what they will do to me? This will bring shame on me and my family. It will bring shame on Joseph. What do I tell people?” (Disclosure: I desire nothing more than to honor God and bring Him glory through obedience to His Word and commands. However, in my weakness, often I find myself in weepy heaps on the floor first, waiting on Him for an infusion of faith and strength.)
Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord! (Luke 2:45)
Mary trusted His promises. Do I?
The promises God has spoken over my life feel way less impossible than the promise He gave Mary, neither do they carry the real, life-threatening costs that hers did. And yet, I haven’t found myself believing in radical, undoubting faith that there will be a fulfillment of what was spoke to me from the Lord, nor have I found myself praising God as she did for the promises that come at a cost. But I am not defined by my history!
I have a promise! And I will believe that there will be a fulfillment. Moses may not have been the most obvious, or strategic, choice for freeing an entire people group from slavery; but he had a promise. David may not have been the most obvious, or strategic, choice for defeating a giant, or even becoming king; but he had a promise. Joseph may not have been the obvious, or strategic, choice for rising to power and influencing a kingdom; but he had a promise.
I may not be the obvious, or strategic, choice for seeing an army of people brought into the kingdom, for preparing and equipping them; but I have a promise!
What’s your promise? Do you believe it?
Blessed is he/she who believes that there will be a fulfillment of all that is spoke to him/her. He is faithful.
For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, “My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose…I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it.” (Isaiah 46:9-11)