by Julie Zine Coleman @JulieZColeman
Guilt drives us to the cross, but grace must lead us from there or we cannot serve God…There is no more powerful motivation for holiness than loving God in response to the revelation of his redeeming character and eternal promises. (Bryan Chapell, Christ Centered Preaching)
She was probably thirteen or fourteen, which was the usual age at which girls were pledged to marry. Her betrothed was most likely much older: a man who had made his way in the world enough to financially support a wife. A while back, he had come to her home to offer for her. Once he and her father made the legally binding agreement, he returned to his own home to make preparations for the day he would bring home his new bride. She, in turn, put her efforts into learning what she needed to know to be a good wife. It was in this waiting and preparation period that an angel suddenly appeared with earth-shaking news.
When he announced her coming pregnancy, it is striking to read of Mary’s simple faith in response. “Behold, the bond-servant of the Lord,” she simply said. “May it be done to me according to your word.”
Didn’t she have questions? The angel had supplied her with only the briefest of details. A betrothed woman found unfaithful to her vows would be viewed as an adulteress, or worse, a harlot. With the angel’s shocking announcement, Mary’s world had been turned upside down.
Yet her response was to unquestioningly place herself into the strong hands of the God she loved.
How could she do that? I am sure I would have demanded a lot more information before I took that plunge.
You can only trust someone you know. Mary’s intimate relationship with God is obvious in her spontaneous praise that we read in Luke 1:46-55, often referred to as the Magnificat. She speaks of God’s faithfulness, holiness, and mercy. Her words are obvious references to several passages in the Old Testament: the Psalms, Isaiah, Habakkuk, 1 Samuel, and Malachi. In the days of little to no formal education for girls, Mary had made it her business to find out about the God of her ancestors.
Mary did not have “blind faith.” She trusted a God she already knew intimately. Her faith was based on His character and proven history with His people. And so, when faced with frightening circumstances, Mary was able to completely put her trust in the God she knew. There was nothing “blind” about it.
Seeing Mary’s simple, willing response to the angel’s news inspires me to know God on that kind of level.
We can’t expect to trust a God we barely know. We have what we need to glean an intimate knowledge of Him. He has revealed everything we need to know about Him in black and white. Each story in the Bible shows some facet of His interaction with people, His faithfulness, or His love. His holiness and power are clearly shown. His wisdom is made plain in its pages.
How can we prepare ourselves to trust God? Open our Bibles and dig in regularly. What we will learn about Him will someday enable us, despite overwhelming circumstances, to trust Him.
Just like Mary.
And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, For You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You. Psalm 9:10 NASB
About the author: Julie Coleman helps others to
understand and know an unexpected God. A popular conference and retreat speaker, she holds an M.A. in biblical studies. Her award-winning book, Unexpected Love: God’s Heart Revealed through Jesus’ Conversations with Women, was published in 2013 by Thomas Nelson. Julie is the managing editor for Arise Daily. When she is not glaring at her computer, she spends time with her grandchildren, gardening, or walking her neurotic dog. More on Julie can be found at unexpectedgod.com and Facebook.
Join the conversation: What character trait of God most enables you to trust Him?