How can this be?

How can this be?

Is it from doubt or curiosity that the teenage Mary questions the news she will mother of the Messiah. I wonder what is harder for her to grasp, the miracle of conception because she is a virgin or that God had chosen her for such an honour and weighty responsibility, because she is a poor, po-dunk country kid. “How can this be?” is a question I ask of God on the regular.

Can the Holy Spirit really impregnate this shy soul to deliver His Good News? Why is the King of the Universe trusting me to provide spiritual care and lead ministry in this city? I’m from a family of few means with a rural upbringing; I don’t fit in or belong here. I don’t possess the polish or charm to influence those expecting 5 star standards. All my childhood I was chosen last for class teams, and absent from the cool kids birthday invites.

In highschool I found my niche as a nerdy introvert behind the scenes as a stage manager for the drama club, as far from the spotlight as possible. I don’t have the courage or confidence to challenge the sexist systems nor skin thick enough to weather the barrage of scrutiny. If I’m His best option for this role, the pickings are slim and I expect the world is coming to a quick end. So I take courage from Mary’s story. If you have ever felt intimidated to follow God’s lead as you pursue that degree, make a monogamous commitment, parent, serve your country or church, or simply surrender your life to Him, the same reassurance given to Mary is spoken to you: “Fear not, God’s grace and favour has found you” (Luke 1:30). Ponder in your heart the promises of Scripture: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will clear the path” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

This is where Mary drew her strength to face the skeptics with confidence. Will you let Him lead you through the valley of shadows, past salivating enemies to the banquet table? Will you choose to trust His plans may take you down a different path than the one you imagined? Look at Jesus and His birth story with fresh eyes and a lighter heart this season. Instead of worry Mary’s heart was full of praise. She chose to let God carry her through days of uncertainty and hardship. As crazy as God’s plans for us may seem at times, they are plans that lead to a better future. Trust Him with your path and your purpose.

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