"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." - Luke 1:38a
I think those might be some of the bravest words in Scripture.
I love this part of the Story. Can you just imagine it?
Mary's going about her average, everyday life, when an angel comes to her. The first thing angels typically say when they appear in Scripture is "do not be afraid!" (which should tell us something about angels right there) - but before he says that, the angel greets Mary, likely a 13/14-year-old girl, as "you who are highly favored. The Lord is with you." - Luke 1:28
Mary's "a little (understandably) freaked out" (that's The Happy Paraphrase of "greatly troubled"), so then the angel says, "Don't be afraid" and calmly goes on to explain to her: "You're going to get pregnant and give birth to a son; you'll name Him Jesus and He'll be called 'Son of the Most High', and He's going to be the King forever."
In her shoes, I suspect I might have said something eloquent, like: "Um. ....what?!"
Mary just asks the practical question: "Ok.... But... how?"
So the angel explains (sort of) and sums it all up by reminding Mary that "nothing is impossible with God."
To which Mary responds, "I am the Lord's servant. Let it be to me as you have said."
Which seems to me to be somewhere along the lines of:
"I'm not sure I get it, but ... okay. Since He said so."
And it struck me, reading this story for the how-many-th time tonight, that Mary was highly favored because God knew she was exactly the kind of girl who would respond just that way.
And I wondered...
Am I the kind of person that God knows would say "yes" in a heartbeat if He asked me to do something unusual, counter-cultural, alienating even? Am I the kind of person who would, without really understanding the particulars of how it would all actually work out in the long run and without even really having time to grasp the magnitude of what He was asking, say "Yes!! Whatever, whenever, as long as I'm with You!"?
I want to be. And, God helping me, I can be.
All God "needed" (practically speaking) to send His Son into this world was one willing heart - one heart so devoted to Him that she said "yes," even when she didn't fully understand what she was saying yes to, even when it changed everything and turned her entire life upside down. We can't even begin to grasp the cultural implications of Mary's "yes" that day - but they were tremendous. She became an outcast, and the man she was engaged to seriously considered calling it off - quietly, but definitely. But all God "needed" to protect Mary and His Son was one willing heart - one heart willing to believe a dream sent from heaven, telling him what to do.
Is my heart willing? (Am I still enough to listen for His voice?) Is yours? (Are you?)
The greatest gift of love ever given was made possible, in part - by His design - by the willing hearts of a man and a woman who, because their love for God made His will their top priority, simply said "yes." In spite of the consequences.
That blows my mind.
And it leaves me wondering - how much more could the love of God be shown forth as we, with willing hearts, follow Him even more boldly, daring to tell the greatest Story ever told - about how Love came, so faithfully, and rescued us?
"Praise the LORD, all you nations;
extol Him, all you peoples.
For great is His love toward us,
and the faithfulness of the LORD
Praise the LORD."
- Psalm 117