We have embarked on a long journey through the book of Luke this week. Yesterday I touched upon the conception of John the Baptist and today’s topic is directly related. While Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth experience a miracle pregnancy (they are not only old, but Elizabeth was barren), someone else also learns that she’s gonna have a miracle baby. Her baby’s name is going to be Jesus. Mary is being visited by an angel who is telling her all about her impending virgin pregnancy and that she is going to give birth to Jesus, and this is her response.
Luke 1:34 Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”
Anytime I read about Mary’s conversation with this angel and think about all of the crazy stuff she was being told I almost feel anxious. She’s an unmarried young girl, a virgin, and oh yeah, you’re going to become pregnant and give birth to the savior of the entire world. It is an almost impossible to comprehend thing that was dropped upon her, which is one of the reasons why I think she was allowed this moment.
Just yesterday we read about Zechariah suffering a punishment for asking God how a miracle was going to take place while Mary asks it and gets an answer and no punishment. The difference to me is that Mary wasn’t seeking out this situation. She wasn’t actively in prayer to be an unwed teenage virgin who birthed the Messiah. This isn’t the answer to a prayer that she’s going “but how” over. This is one of the heaviest, most out there things that God has ever dropped on someone, and I love knowing that God’s not some rigid figure who can’t differentiate between situations. We talked yesterday about motivation, why are you asking God how? For Zechariah, it was a moment of doubt, but that clearly isn’t what’s going on here. Mary was due a how, I believe, and I love what it says about God’s character that He granted her that “how” moment.
So Mary is processing this information and in verses 36-37 the angel tells her something else. Check this out.
Luke 1:36-37 What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month.37 For the word of God will never fail.
I adore the fact that God saw fit to tell her this. It’s this really sweet way of telling her “you’re not in this alone”. It gives her hope, it helps her realize that God can and does and is in the process of making impossible moves.
I love this concept in the faith of encouraging others with stories of God’s goodness, of His moves of power, just whatever relatable testimony that fits the moment. I’ve been healed and delivered from the depths of unimaginable pain when I was in the hospital, and I can tell that story to others who may be going through tough illness and pains to show them that God still heals. I’ve been without important possessions (a car) and had God come through in miracle fashion and bring a free car into my life. I can share that with someone who is at the end of their natural means and feeling like there’s no way they’re going to be able to make ends meet.
The book of Isaiah gives us this reminder.
Isaiah 46:9 Remember the things I have done in the past. For I alone am God! I am God, and there is none like me.
Do you know how many times I’ve had to use my own testimony on myself? So many! I’ve had to remind myself “God got you through before and He will do it again”. The stories of our faith, the sharing of our situations and of God’s role in all of it is an essential part to healthy Christian living. It sustains our soul, it strengthens us in our weakness. For Mary, I have no doubt that it brought a certain level of peace to her to know that her relative was going through a similarly strange and unprecedented situation as the one she was about to go through.
Never ever stop talking to others about the things God has done and is doing in your life. Tell them when He challenges you, when He blesses you, when He’s moved mightily on your behalf. You never know how much sharing your God experiences is going to impact those around you, but you can know that it’s going to impact them. For some people, it simply plants a seed in their mind, makes them think “wow, God can do stuff like that for people?” For others, it can be the key that unlocks a deeper reserve of faith and hope in them.
If you don’t feel like God is making moves in your life, get around a group of believers who are talking about this stuff. Get inspired by their stories, get hungry to have similar experiences to the ones they had. A lot of my early moments with God were born out of a hunger to experience things like the people around me were. My pastor regularly spoke about conversations he would have with God. I’d never felt like God spoke directly to me, and so I went after that with a passion. Since then I’ve experienced some insanely powerful conversations with God. I’ve also unlocked the ability to converse with Him via study of the Bible.
This week at church my Pastor shared that God’s really been searching his heart and revealing some things there that he needs to work on. What’s funny is, I’ve been going through something similar, and I know at least 3 other people who are too. Guess what I, and I’m assuming those other 3 people, felt when we heard our pastor say that? We felt a little more at ease. A little less worried about where we were, a little less concerned about the process God was bringing us through. Pastor is going through it too, it’s okay, it’s all part of the way that God continually grows us and makes us more like Him. Had he not shared that with us, there would’ve remained this touch of anxiety in me about the process, but since he was open and spoke about his God experiences, I was greatly helped.
One of my absolute favorite verses in the Bible is related to this subject.
Acts 4:20 We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard.”
Share your stories, and even share your struggles. Every single thing that relates to God carries great power, and so when you share with others about the Lord you’re going to see that those old stories of yours weren’t one and done miracles, that God is going to continually recycle them and use them again and again and again to impact the lives of those around you. He’s God, don’t ever make the mistake of thinking that His mighty moves are only good for one thing. He’ll take a miracle He did in your life and use the story of it five decades later to inspire and motivate others. After all, David only killed one Goliath, and yet look how many giants have been slain because the story of his great deed inspired us to stand in the face of great adversity.
I love you guys. I got extra passionate about this subject today. I’ve seen this work countless times in my own life and I know I will continue to see it play out. Just like Mary was encouraged and comforted to hear about her relative’s situation, we have the power to encourage and comfort and inspire and uplift those around us when we share about God’s movement in our lives. Don’t ever be shy about it, and don’t ever doubt its great and awesome power.
If you would like prayer for anything or if you just want to talk about God or religion or life in general, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. It would be my pleasure to speak with you.