26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Yeshua. 32 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, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on 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. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”
38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
First of all, I cannot imagine how startling it must have been for Mary to see this angel up close and personal! Surely that wasn't something that happened every day! Secondly, the Scripture tells us that young Miriam (her Hebrew name) was greatly troubled at his words and "wondered what kind of greeting this might be." That tells me that at first she is uncertain who this messenger is and what his impossible message could really mean. She's not very old, but clearly she understands that you can't have a baby without having relations with a man! But the angel concludes his message by sharing with her the miracle of her cousin Elizabeth's pregnancy and then declaring to her, "For no word from God will ever fail."
It must have been a lot to take in. But young Miriam doesn't skip a beat. Faith rises up in her and she responds, "I AM THE LORD'S SERVANT. MAY YOUR WORD TO ME BE FULFILLED."
We've all read the Scripture and heard the story dozens of times. It's so familiar to us we really don't stop to give it a lot of thought. But I was listening to one of my very favorite preacher/teachers, Allen Jackson, as he presented this Scripture, and something he said arrested my attention. He said, "Don't wait for the big revelation for your future - but prepare your heart and yield your life."
I cannot tell you how powerfully those words spoke to me! It was as if an explosion went off in my brain! I know that that's because I have spent SO much time in the past five years dreaming about and waiting for God's next big assignment for me. And as my husband has continued a long, slow decline, I've grown impatient, wondering if there will EVER be a time again when I am released to go across the globe and carry the News of the Kingdom.
When the angel appeared to Miriam and told her she had favor with God and He was going to do this miraculous thing through her, her response was one of remarkable humility. "I am the Lord's servant." She had favor with God because obviously she had prepared her heart and yielded her life to God, for whatever purpose He might have in mind for her. So what if the purpose had been simply for her to go to Elizabeth's home and care for HER during her pregnancy, and help with her newborn son? Not nearly as earth-shaking and incredible as being overshadowed by the Holy Spirit in order to conceive and bear the Son of God! But I believe she still would have said, "I am the Lord's servant. May Your word to me be fulfilled."
I think for each of us - perhaps some more than most - there is a tendency to want to peer into the future and find some exciting plan that God has prepared for us. But I am grateful for Allen Jackson's wise words that settled me back into the quiet confidence of waiting for the God of all the earth to reveal His plan for my future. I see now that that is not going to happen until He is satisfied that my heart is prepared to receive and my life fully yielded to receive His word - no matter what it might be, no matter how big or how small. Then, trembling at His presence, I will be able to say with confidence, "I am the Lord's servant. May Your word to me be fulfilled." Because no word of God will ever fail!
Kelly Ferrari Mills