Mary’s Difficult Decision (Part 2)
by Rhonda Stoppe
In part 1 of this article, we found the teenaged girl, Mary interrupted amidst a very ordinary day. God sent an angel to tell her she had been chosen to be the mom of His one and only Son––the Messiah for whose promised arrival the Israelites had long awaited and longed for.
Although Mary was a virgin and she believed that God could do what He promised to place in her womb the baby who would be the Savior of the world. (If you missed part 1 of the article take a moment to go back and read it here.)
Let’s look at what else happened when this teenaged girl decided to trust God, even though she would be facing certain ridicule and disbelief when others would hear of her
Mary’s Relationship to God…
Mary’ s propensity to pray. Luke 1:46-55 records Mary’s prayer to the Lord. It is called Mary’s Magnificat. Her words reveal that she was quite comfortable expressing her heart to the Lord. Prayer is just that–expressing your heart to God. If you are not a person who prays, let me give you one profound piece of advice – PRAY!
Don’t worry about what to say; just speak out loud to the Lord. He is not looking for eloquent words; He simply wants you to grow more intimate with Him by pouring out all that is in your heart and by expressing your love and worship for Him. For years I struggled with my thoughts wandering while I prayed. Then I learned a valuable key that helped me enormously. I talk out loud when I pray. If you’re like me, trying to hold a conversation with God in your mind tends to be a struggle. But if you communicate with the Lord the way that you communicate with others, you may find–as I did–that it is a natural and comfortable experience. I use my hands when I speak– you should see me when I am talking to the Lord. If someone were to walk into the room during my prayer time, I am quite sure they would think I had lost my mind.
Mary knew her purpose. In the very first line of her prayer, Mary revealed her heart: “My soul magnifies the Lord.” To magnify means to enlarge, to declare, or to show great. In that one statement, Mary conveyed that she understood her purpose was to bring glory to her God. Her obedience to Him would do just that.
Mary knew the true God as her Savior. In Luke 1:47, Mary referred to God as her Savior. That demonstrated she recognized her need of a Savior. “She employed language typical of someone whose only hope for salvation is divine grace.” Just as Mary needed a Savior, so you and I are in need of a Savior. A relationship with Jesus Christ is our only hope of salvation.
Mary was humble. Mary’s humble heart was revealed by how she referred to herself in her prayer: “He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant” (Luke 1:48). Throughout history God has used meek people mightily–humble servants who learn to rely upon His strength.
Mary’s Difficult Decision…
Mary inquired of the Lord. If you read only the Matthew narrative of Mary’s meeting with Gabriel, you may get the impression that the virgin was simply found with the child of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:8). As if one day, she simply woke up pregnant.
We gain more insight into the encounter in Luke 1:34, where Mary respectfully asked, “ How can this be since I do not know a man?” “Her question was borne out of wonder, not doubt, nor disbelief.”
When faced with a monumental decision, Mary wisely directed her inquiries to the messenger of God. She didn’t survey the opinions of all of her friends. I’m not saying we should discount the value of seeking out godly counselors. But our human tendency to rely on the opinions of people can easily bring confusion instead of clarity.
Mary was courageous. Luke 1:29 reveals Mary’s immediate response to this strange news: “She was troubled at his saying.” How surreal this moment must have been for her. Imagine the thoughts that may have gone through the mind of this teenage girl. How is this possible? Will Joseph believe me? What will my parents think?
With no witnesses to vouch for this encounter with Gabriel, Mary would likely have wondered if anyone would believe her. The Law of Moses provided for her precious Joseph to break off their engagement, and by law, she could be stoned to death as an adulteress.
Though Mary faced some potentially painful losses, in her moment of decision she courageously presented herself as the maidservant of the Lord and surrendered to His Word.
Mary knew the Word of God. I am amazed at how quickly Mary chose to obey the Lord. What equipped this young girl to cast aside the safety of her neat and orderly life in exchange for obedience to God? Mary and most other Jewish maidens would have known Isaiah’s prophecy of some 700 years prior, that a virgin would conceive and bear a Son (Isaiah 7:14). Mary’s ability to recognize God’s calling would have come from her knowledge of Scripture.
As a mother, if you want your decisions to be directed by the Lord, you must be familiar with His Word. It is essential that you determine to be a woman who studies the Bible so you develop the courage to follow the Lord’s leading–for it is “a lamp to [your] feet and a light to [your] path.”
God, through His Word, has established the way for His people to find direction. It has never been the Lord’s intent for you to wait until you are facing a decision before you open the Bible, close your eyes and randomly point to a verse for His guidance––as if it were some kind of cosmic game show.
The Lord expects His children to daily transform their thoughts by meditating upon and studying His Word so that they will think with the mind of Christ.8
In so doing they will view life and its decisions with His perspective rather than their own. The Word of God will provide the direction you need to follow Christ no matter what the cost.
When faced with a difficult choice, are you prepared to recognize and submit to the Lord’ s leading, or are you tempted to play it safe? Ask God to grow in you the courage to follow His plan for your life––no matter where He may lead. Learning to live with such courage will not only lead you toward an incredible life centered in God’s will, but your example will train your own children how to live in total abandon as well.
Rhonda Stoppe is the NO REGRETS WOMAN. With more than 30 years experience of helping women live life with no regrets.
Rhonda Stoppe’s book MOMS RAISING SONS TO BE MEN is mentoring thousands of moms to guide sons toward a no-regrets life. Her new book IF MY HUSBAND WOULD CHANGE I’D BE HAPPY-And Other Myths Wives Believe (Harvest House Publishers) is helping countless women build no-regrets marriages. As a pastor’s wife, speaker, and author, Rhonda has helped women to:
* Discover significance and
LISTEN TO THIS RADIO EXCERPT of Rhonda Stoppe on “The Road Show” with Host Laurette Willis: “Exchanging Your Dreams for God’s Plans”