Scripture Reading: Numbers 1:1-2:9 / Luke 1:26-38 / Psalm 33:12-22
Mrs. Monroe lived in Darlington, Maryland and had 8 children. She came home from the grocery store one afternoon and it was unusually quiet. She looked in the living room, 5 of her children were sitting quietly, with their attention in the middle of their circle. She put her groceries down and walked to see why her children were so captivated. To her amazement, there were 5 baby skunks. She was instantly terrified and yelled, “Run, children run!” Each child grabbed a skunk and ran in 5 different directions. She was beside herself and screamed even louder. The children then became frightened, tensed up and squeezed their skunk...you can imagine what happened because skunks do not like to be squeezed!
Our fear will take us to places we don’t want to go. If Mrs. Monroe remained calm, the outcome would have smelled a whole lot better! An unsuspecting young teenaged girl received the shock of her life when an angel approached her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you!” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid…” (Luke 1:28-30)
The last thing Mary expected was a visiting angel…one who said she was highly favored and the Lord was with her! She was troubled, “thrown into confusion”. Mary was asking, “Who me?” She was an “ordinary girl” and insignificant in the eyes of the world. Mary was not from the holy city of Jerusalem but the often-despised town of Nazareth in Galilee. It was known for its corruption and low morals.
God singled Mary out and she knew it wasn’t because of her merit or works. He tapped Mary on her shoulder with His grace and announced His favor rested upon her. Grace is often identified as unmerited or undeserved favor. Mary was promised God’s protection, blessings, presence and goodness. He was on her side!
Mary went into “Why me?” mode as she wondered what God had in mind. Gabriel calmed her and told her not to fear. He was about to unveil the impossible to Mary…she would experience a virgin birth as the Holy Spirit would move upon her and she would deliver Jesus, the Savior, the Son of God! Even after Mary embraced God’s miracle, she would have to battle fear amidst slander and uncertainty.
We at times seem to distance ourselves from the miraculous. It is a strange paradox. We so desire the intervention and miraculous in our lives but want to “pick and choose” when and how that happens. We want life to be played out according to our script. We fail to consider that life’s struggles may be orchestrated by God’s design and perfect plan. So it was for Mary, so it is for us. We have been favored with God’s grace of salvation, the Lord is with us (His Spirit dwells within us) and He blesses us with every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus! No matter if life looks like it is going to be a “stinker”, stay calm and trusting… enjoy the fragrance of grace and favor!
Pastor James Clark has pastored Calvary Assembly since 1985. He is blessed with his wife Yvonne, six children, two son-in-laws, a beautiful granddaughter and hopefully many more grandchildren to follow!