I listed out several things —-as just saying His name in my mind pushed the play button of my life’s tape. I saw myself at various times “relying solely” on His name. Remembering lying prostrate on the floor crying out His name, is usually first in my heart and mind. I felt the peace that only His name brings.
It is hard to fathom what might have been Mary’s feelings being told the news that she, a young woman having known no man, would bring forth the Emanuel of the world. Trying to “place myself” in her shoes, I think I would feel completely unworthy. Totally aware of my own human nature—afraid of failing El Olam, the Eternal God, the Everlasting God.
El Roi–the God who sees. Nothing is hidden from His view. Aimee and I shared a recent devotion from Psalm 139. The psalmist David said, “O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise.” That is the perfect picture of God’s all seeing, all knowing eye. His eyes are omniscient. I wrote in the margin of my book, “nothing is hidden from His view.”…Nothing. He had been watching Mary’s life. He knew the way she was brought up. He watched and knew her obedient and willing heart. It was not one put on for show. It was honest. Sincere.
Considering that nothing is hidden from His view, I wonder if Mary tried to recall any part of her life for closer examination. I know that every single time I have been asked to participate in a project—or take on a new assignment for the LORD, my shortcomings and all the areas where I feel unqualified, always come rushing to the forefront of my mind, like the ocean waves crashing on the shore. I wonder if this happened to Mary.
Beth reflected a bit on the “whereabouts” of Mary—suggests what she might be doing. I don’t know why I have always thought this—but for some reason, I have always pictured Mary in the barn–doing her daily chores. Going about her daily routine…perhaps she was contemplating God. …Maybe–singing a song of praise to the top of her lungs! …Or quietly humming to herself.
No matter where she was—it is evident—she was alone. As Aimee and I discussed recently—knowing that Mary was alone gives us reason for reflection in our own lives. …Aren’t we usually “alone” when we feel the Lord speaking to our hearts? We feel that nudging in our spirits—that causes us to pause and lean in to Him for a listen?
Has He ever told you something in the deep part of your heart/spirit that took your breath away? I imagine that for Mary—this visit from Gabriel—simply made her catch her breath! I can almost hear her intake of air as she realizes that she is no longer alone!
“Highly favored”, were the angel’s words. I have recently witnessed two different fathers expressing to their daughters their love and complete admiration for them. Not only for what they have accomplished in their lives…but just because they belong to them—they are part of them. They are proud of them—and it shows in the smiles—the love—and the words of affirmation. I think that is something that God was expressing through the angel Gabriel, “Mary, you are highly favored!”—Sort of even saying “He’s been watching your life!”
The exchange between Gabriel and Mary has always intrigued me. Many years ago I wrote a play for our church for a Christmas production. I found myself longing to have a “hidden camera” for the scene between this pair! Her racing pulse must have been evident to Gabriel because he quickly assured her with “fear not”. And, I like to imagine, when he spoke aloud the Name the infant was to be given —peace swept over her like a warm blanket. It does for me.
A more powerful name does not exist. But not just because of the name itself—Beth relayed that it was a commonly known/used name in those days. However, it is the Owner of the name that brings the peace and power!
I was so blessed by this study—as we joined Mary in the “barn” —(or wherever you have pictured her!) I was glad to be privy to this intimate conversation between the messenger of the holy God and the daughter He chose to bring His life into the world.
I have really thought much about my own life—and how I conduct myself on a day-to-day basis. I know there are many times I fail. But as the microscope is targeted on my heart—I am allowing HIM to peel away the pain from the past years and create clean flesh—remove the stone—and the areas where I may have begun to harden due to some harsh realities of life. I WANT to be USABLE! I want to be considered “favorable” by Him.