“Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has
said to her will be accomplished!”
I have a confession to make. I did not enjoy every moment of every one of my pregnancies! Now as I am older, I wish I had. However, I can say the births of every one of my children are some of the most precious highlights of my life. Let me clarify—not the labor but the births! Back in the day, when I gave birth to my first child, it was trendy to video those things. I will never forget the time my mother first saw the video of my daughter’s birth. She was weeping. Weeping with joy, but mostly she was weeping with amazement at the whole miraculous process. Similarly, many times in my life, I have witnessed the birth of other people’s dreams. (Figuratively speaking, you might even say I was their Lamaze coach!) I have wept with joy and watched in total amazement as I saw how God miraculously brought about the birth of someone’s dream. But I know from experience the pregnancy and labor of most dreams are not as jubilant.
Just think about Mary and her story in Luke chapter one. We’ve heard it many times and know the marvelous inspiring story as the ‘Annunciation’. (Note: It is a big formal church word which needs to be pronounced in a deep formal grandiose voice for effect, Uh-nuhnnnn-see-ey-shuhnnnnn.)
In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a
town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named
Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.
Tradition says she was in her early teens as betrothal commonly occurred soon after puberty. What is interesting to me is that Scripture does not record her being troubled by the incredible announcement and all the possible adverse impacts her consent might have on her reputation and relationships. It just says she was troubled by the angel’s salutation.
The angel went to 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. (v 28, 29)
Was she troubled because in that culture, it was unlawful for a man to greet a woman publicly? Or rather, was it that being particularly singled out and called highly favored confused her because of her humble situation as a peasant teenaged girl?
Another thing of interest is in this whole amazing conversation, she only has two lines! (Tangent: One December when my daughter Annie was about 4 or 5 years old, I walked by her bedroom door, peeked in and noticed her just sitting quietly on the middle of her floor holding her doll on her little lap. I proceeded to the laundry room to get a load of clothes and returned back to my bedroom to fold them. Passing by, I peeked in again, seeing her still sitting quietly with her doll on her lap. Not wanting to bother her I continued on to my bedroom. Several minutes later I passed by her room again and noticed her still sitting quietly. By this time, my curiosity demanded an explanation! “What are you doing?” I asked. She replied, “Oh, I’m just practicing being Mary for our Christmas play.”)
Back to Mary! After being told,
“You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” (v. 31-33)
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” (v. 34)
Sounds like a reasonable question! The angel then answers,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.” (v. 35-37)
Her only response is immediate unconditional submission!
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.
Luke 1: 38
Can you imagine being in her moccasins? To be told that God wants to do amazing things in you and through you? Well, I’m telling you right now, God wants to do amazing things in you and through you. He wants to conceive in you—dreams, aspirations, hopes, desires, and ambitions all for His purposes and His glory.
Many of you know what I’m talking about. You may have the hope for a loved one to know Christ, a desire to be married to a godly spouse or an aspiration to use your gifts in a deeper way. And you’ve been pregnant with that dream for way too long. It’s uncomfortable, you’re weary and it just seems impossible, like you will never give birth to it. As I said earlier, the pregnancy and labor of most dreams aren’t so jubilant. Giving birth to a dream can cost you. Before Mary could be part of the wonderful privilege of giving birth to the Savior of the world, she suffered judgment, rejection, loss of her reputation and risked the loss of her marriage to Joseph. Way too often we see pictures of Mary after the birth of Jesus with her halo. But we forget about the rumors and gossip she endured, the donkey ride to Bethlehem in her ninth month of pregnancy, and laboring to give birth to Jesus while breathing in the putrid odor of cow manure. Those pictures you see in Christmas cards with all that clean hay—not true!
What dreams has God conceived in you? Don’t be discouraged. The gestation of a dream can take many years and require discomfort and sacrifice, as God is developing and preparing you and those around you. I was pregnant with Better Off Read Ministries for 15 years! Having said that, I am sure there was a time or two during Mary’s pregnancy that she thought of her relative, Elizabeth, who had given birth to a bouncing baby boy from her previously deteriorated lifeless old womb and remembered her encouraging words. May these words with which Elizabeth encouraged Mary also encourage you. “Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!” (v. 45) Ok, breath with me now. Hee-hee-hoo, hee-hee-hoo! LH
(Many of the posts on this website are accompanied by a “Just Say Know” Bible Study broken up into 5 days. The Study is designed to take you no more than 10 minutes each day.) Please feel free to leave comments! If you read His Word, you will truly be Better Off!
“Just Say Know” Bible Study
Day 1 Read Luke 1:1-25
- Who is pregnant with a dream in this passage?
- How long have they been pregnant with this dream of having a baby?
- Why do you think God waited so long to fulfill this dream?
Day 2 Read Luke 1:26-45
- Why do you think God chose a virgin birth to fulfil his plan?
- How was Elizabeth’s pregnancy an encouragement to Mary?
- What do you learn about Mary from this passage?
- If you were Mary, how would you have responded to the angel?
Day 3 Read Luke 1:46-79
- Compare Mary’s Song to Zechariah’s song? Name 3 ways they are alike.
- Name 3 ways they are different.
- According to Zechariah and Mary’s songs, who else’s “dream” is being fulfilled?
Day 4 Read Matthew 1:18-24
- Do you understand what it meant to be pledged to be married in Joseph and Mary’s culture? (For more information on this passage, click on the following link which is a commentary on the above verses.) http://www.newmediaministries.org/Commentaries/Matthew%201%2018-25%20Commentary.pdf
- What was Joseph going to do before the angel appeared to him in a dream?
- How long did it take for Joseph to support Mary and what God was doing through her?
- Has God ever given you a dream that was not supported or understood by those closest to you?
- If He worked it out for Joseph and Mary, do you believe He can work it out for you?
Day 5 Luke 1:45; Psalm 138:8a
- What is the most significant thing you have learned from reading these scriptures?
- Why do you think God conceives seemingly impossible dreams in us.
- How long are you willing to wait for God to fulfill or ‘birth’ the dreams He has given you?