She was the good girl. Everybody knew it. She had a great reputation with her family and friends. She was respected and held up as a great example for younger girls to look up to.
Then, the unimaginable happened.
After visiting some relatives in a far away city, she arrived back home with some unexpected news. Some shocking news.
She was pregnant.
Just imagine the rumors and gossip that spread like wildfire across her town.
“SHE is pregnant?!”
“How could SHE, the purest girl of all, get pregnant?!”
“Who’s the father…?”
“Why would SHE do this?!”
Shock. Scandal. Sin.
I’m sure those were the feelings and thoughts that many of her friends and acquaintances had.
And to make the scandal even worse…this pregnant teenage girl told everyone that “God” gave her the baby.
That the pregnancy was a result of the Holy Spirit. That she was still a virgin.
I’m not sure how the town responded to that information…but I’m guessing there was some extreme skepticism. I’m not sure how I would have responded, but it probably would have been along the lines of, “She’s crazy!”
This story is a true one, and it still provokes a lot of debate and questions – even today.
If you haven’t already guessed it, this is the story of how our Savior, Jesus Christ, came into the world.
Even though I’ve heard the “Christmas Story” a hundred times, it still gets me.
When I stop and think about the reality of what Mary went through and experienced, it’s mind blowing. She was just an average, everyday girl…just like you, just like me.
Her life story is an amazing picture of how amazing and awesome God is. In fact, I’ve been personally challenged and encouraged by the story of this courageous young girl.
Here are a few things I’ve learned about God from this intriguing and unusual story.
1. God’s ways are not our ways.
The true story of Mary reminds us that God’s ways are not always our ways. His thoughts are higher than ours. His plans are greater than ours.
I’m sure Mary wouldn’t have chosen the path of, what appeared to be, a scandalous teenage pregnancy for herself. But God had a plan and a purpose in that. He purposely chose an unmarried virgin so that baby Jesus could be miraculously conceived by the Holy Spirit. And since Mary had a pure and honorable reputation, her story was probably a little more believable.
I wonder if Mary was encouraged by Isaiah 55:8-9 which says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith Jehovah. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
God ways are not our ways, and we can take comfort in that truth when things don’t go as planned.
2. God’s timing is perfect.
When you read Mary’s story in the gospels, you might start to wonder if God’s timing was right.
A premarital pregnancy, a shocked fiance, traveling many miles across the land while over 8 months pregnant, giving birth in a dirty, smelly stable??
The timing sounds…well…crazy, right? But. God. Knew.
God knew the perfect Savior had to be conceived by a virgin. God knew this new baby would need an earthly father shortly thereafter, so He timed it perfectly with Joseph. God knew Jesus had to be born in Bethlehem, “the city of David” to fulfill the Old Testament prophecy about the Messiah.
God knew, and His timing was perfect. Mary and Joseph trusted in God’s timing, even when they couldn’t see the big picture.
3. God can be trusted.
The most amazing example of trust in the Bible (in my opinion) is Mary’s complete and total trust of God’s plan. When the angel (an angel!) suddenly brought Mary the life altering news, she humbly responded by saying, “Behold, the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her” (Luke 1:38).
Complete and total trust.
She trusted God to work things out with Joseph, her fiance. She trusted God with the reactions from her friends and acquaintances. She trusted God even though her supposedly “scandalous pregnancy” could result in getting stoned to death. She trusted God for her entire future.
God provided. God directed. God made a way. God can be totally and completely trusted.
There are so many amazing truths about God intertwined throughout the story of Mary.
What appeared to be a scandalous teenage pregnancy, turned out to be the most incredible story of God’s faithfulness, direction, plan, and purposes.
I encourage you to read the story of Mary in Luke 1-2 today! See how many new things you learn about God while reading it.
- What amazes you about Mary’s story?
- What have you learned about God’s character through her story?
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