How the Impossible Becomes Possible with God
“God has a special place for those who feel left out.”
Do you know who said those words?
Let me take the guesswork out. It was an old cow named Abigail to a little lamb called Joshua who had a hard time fitting in with others in Max Lucado’s Christmas story, “The Crippled Lamb.” I consider this children’s picture book a masterpiece. After about the twentieth read of the book, while sitting in my car in Woodside’s parking lot ten years ago, I saw myself in the story of Joshua and stepped out of the car with a resounding Yes! God has a place for me here at Woodside. Can you think of a book, movie, or even a song that resonates with your life story today?
The Christmas season ushers in lights, camera, and action: Music, decorations, food, movies, presents, parties, family gatherings, and so much more. But for some, the season stirs up feelings of sadness, stress, and loneliness. The sometimes opposing nature of the Christmas season can be overwhelming when Christ is not the focus of our attention.
In Luke 1:26–38, we are introduced to Mary, a virgin woman from the City of Galilee who God handpicked to be the vessel who would carry a heavenly treasure; God’s only son, Jesus the Messiah, the Savior of the world coming to earth in the form a baby. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
The message delivered by angel Gabriel came with favor, assurance, and promise [v. 28–34.] However, I was struck by the sentiments in verse 34, where after being told she would carry in her womb the Son of the Most High, she “asked the Angel, ‘how will it be since I’m a virgin.?’”
Have you ever found yourself being prompted by the Holy Spirit to reach out to someone or even initiate a project, and you don’t know how the person might respond or what the next steps were? This is a normal reaction because the opportunities God presents to us can only be fulfilled through His power, direction, and might because His ways and thoughts are higher than ours [Isaiah 55:8–9].
God welcomes our faith-filled questions, when we’re seeking to understand and obey. And He encourages us to ask them. Questions expose the truth, bring clarity, and affirm our purpose. Mary recognized her own biological limitations in asking — she was a virgin. But to God, she was the perfect vessel to display His glory. Can you identify with Mary in this process of asking questions for clarity? Have you considered your limitations? Are you willing to trust God to work through you?
In her questioning, the angel Gabriel brought insight and clarity to Mary’s role in God’s Salvation Plan. In v35, Gabriel explains that God’s powerful presence would do the work in her body (overshadow). The heavenly seed deposited in her womb would be set apart and called Holy-the Son of God because the baby to be born would not be created through human sexual relations. It was God’s purpose for his glory, and so Mary understood that the God who was calling her would also provide for her needs.
Before the angel Gabriel left Mary, he encouraged her with a sign that her relative Elizabeth, who was in her old age and once called barren, had also conceived a son and was six months pregnant [v. 36–37]. As Pastor Jim Dahlke mentioned in a recent sermon,
Nothing is outside God’s power, and nothing is too hard for Him. God will fulfill his word! God takes an older woman and gives her a child. But more than that, God is taking a virgin and bringing forth the Messiah through her.
Praise be to the Lord, what an encouragement! “The Lord is good and his steadfast love endures forever and his faithfulness to all generations.” Psalm 100:5
When Mary hears this news, her fears, doubts, and valid concerns pale into insignificance as she lifts up her eyes in faith and sees that her help truly comes from the Lord. And in this place of rest and realization, she can only but respond in verse 38:
“Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”
In saying yes to the will of God, she was endowed with strength, wisdom, and courage to fulfill God’s plan. In addition, her heart erupts with songs of praise Luke 1:46–55. Her simple act of obedience and trust would usher in salvation, Joy, and hope for her generation and generations to come.
When God calls, it is a divine invitation and requires a response. And while it might not be through an angel appearing before us, just like Mary, we have the opportunity to say yes to Christ as we offer our lives as a living sacrifice, which is our true act of worship. Let us keep Jesus at the center of our festivities and share His love with those who may feel left out. Why? Because God has got a place for them. He invites us to be the answer to this need, and He will make provision.