“The angel came to her and said, ‘Rejoice, favored woman! The Lord is with you.’ But she was deeply troubled by this statement, wondering what kind of greeting this could be. Then the angel told her: ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God'” (Luke 1:28–30).
Out of the Ordinary
Do not God’s visitations unnerve us? But why? Because He never comes to us without asking us to do something. We never know what He will ask of us, but we know that we will be overwhelmed by our feelings of inadequacy.
When God came to Moses, Moses said, “Ask Aaron!” When He came to Gideon, Gideon suggested, “Let’s put out the fleece, God.” When God asks us for anything, we are prone to say, “Lord, even though this is a great honor, would You mind honoring someone else?”
So God came to Mary of Nazareth. As is always the case, God was the very last person she was expecting.
“Rejoice, favored woman! The Lord is with you.” God generally promises us His steadfast presence before He asks of us some task we feel is beyond us, something that without Him would be too heavy.
“Do not be afraid!” God often says this — just before He terrifies us with His demand.
Something fearful always accompanies the request of God. For although He calls us to do something significant, we generally feel we cannot do it.
“Mary, you have found favor with God!” This promise of grace is a statement of special notice. Mary, above all the women of Nazareth, had been singled out by God. Did she not find God’s special notice a little disturbing? Of course! Every time God says, “I want you!” — (as He did to Mary) — our next question is, “Why are You talking to me? There must be fifteen million people who can do this job better than I can.”
There is no answer to this issue of grace. “You are the chosen one, Mary,” God replied. This is all! Discussion over! Once a person is selected, the next words to be said are, “Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.”
Read: Luke 10:38-42
“Jesus, don’t come in yet! The floor’s not done! Your room’s not ready!” We modern-day Marthas are sure that Jesus wouldn’t want to stay with us until we’d vacuumed and dusted. How much we need to be like her sister Mary, who simply left her dirty dishes on the table. After all, Jesus would know best how to put them away.
Lord, may I quit trying to figure out the mathematics of grace. You have chosen me because it is Your nature to use the bewildered. And that is enough for me. What would You have me to do?
Excerpted from The Christ of Christmas by Calvin Miller. Copyright 2006 B&H Publishing Group.