Then Mary said, “Here I am, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Luke 1:38a
What must it have been like for Mary that night when the angel showed up, telling her that God has chosen her, a virgin, to give birth to the Messiah? It’s an exciting story, fantastic and amazing: This small town girl is going to have God’s baby! But for Mary herself, this encounter must be more terrifying than anything else. She has every reason to believe that this angel may be sending her on a suicide mission.
After all, what is Mary’s family going to say when they find out that she is pregnant? What will her fiancé, Joseph do? In a culture like the one Mary lives in, this kind of bombshell will mean shame and rejection at best. Violent death is a very real possibility.
Mary knows these things. Yet, in spite of the terror of shame, banishment and death, she says yes. Although she has no idea where this decision might lead, she makes the choice to give herself over to this divine insanity. She will become pregnant with God.
Both as a man, and as someone whose faith is a whole lot weaker than Mary’s, I have a tough time imagining myself in her position. Still, I am inspired and challenged by her witness. I wonder if there are ways that I can connect with the kind of courage that she displays.
What would it be like to imitate Mary’s faith? How can I put everything on the line – my body, my reputation, my safety, my very life – to fully embrace the beautiful, terrifying promise that God has for me? What would it mean to say to the angel, “Here I am, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word?”