Written by Kellye Rickman
Mary, a humble girl, was told she would be a part of God’s plan to send Jesus to earth. Imagine with me what that must have been like for her to experience Jesus, God Sent.
Have you ever experienced a time in your life when you had to make a choice between having faith or giving way to fear? Have you ever dreamed dreams for your life only to realize that God may be writing the story of your life differently than the way you had planned?
I certainly have.
My name is Mary and I am going to share an incredible story
My name is Mary and I am going to share an incredible story of when I had to choose between having faith or giving way to fear.
As a Jewish teenage girl living with my parents in northern Israel, my life was pretty ordinary. One day as I was doing my daily work around the house,sweeping my room and cleaning the floors, I began to daydream about my future. I was feeling so much joy and excitement, as I was thinking about my engagement and wedding day that was quickly approaching. I was going to marry the man of my dreams. Joseph was the most honorable and amazing man I had ever met. I was still amazed by the great blessing God was giving me in a husband. As I was thinking about Joseph, who was most likely already hard at work in his carpentry workshop,I knew that he would be a devoted provider for our family. I was dreaming about the home we would make, the children we would have, and what a wonderful life it would be.
And then– all of a sudden, the most amazing and unexpected thing happened! An angel of the Lord appeared. Yes, an angel from heaven standing in my room right before my very eyes. I was instantly terrified to the point of trembling. Probably much like you, I had never seen an angel. The experience was magnificent and completely breathtaking. The angel Gabriel had come with a message specifically for me.
An angel visiting a small-town girl like me?
Who would have thought? An angel visiting a small-town girl like me? The angel spoke and said, “Mary, you have found favor with God and the Lord is with you!”
My mind was reeling. It was hard to take it all in much less understand what this message meant. But the angel Gabriel spoke again and said for me not to be afraid, because I had found favor with God. He had come to deliver a message to me from God.
He went on, saying, “You will conceive in your womb and have a son, and you will name him Jesus. 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 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
As my mind was trying to process what the angel was telling me, I was feeling confused because I knew that I was a virgin. It was hard to fathom how this would be possible.
Then the angel revealed the answer. Gabriel explained that the Holy Spirit would come upon me, and the power of the Most High would overshadow me. And the child that would be born to me would be called Holy- the Son of God.
Would I choose faith? Or fear?
Wow! This day had certainly taken a turn that I didn’t see coming. I was envisioning our wedding day and my life with Joseph. And then the angel appeared and revealed a different direction for my life. I had a choice to make in that moment. Would I choose faith? Or fear?
I knew that faith was believing without seeing. It was so much to take in, that I would be the one to carry the Messiah, the long-awaited One, the One who would redeem Israel – the One sent by God. And I could already sense the great love that I would have for this child, my first child, my own son, the very Son of God.
Even though this seemed impossible, somehow I knew deep within in me that every word he had spoken was true. I trusted and believed all that the angel was speaking over me. I knew that my God was the God of the impossible. He starts with impossible and shows the world that all things are possible with God. My God always keeps His promises even when His plans are different from mine. That day I chose faith and trust over fear and worry.
However, as any girl would, I began to think about what this might mean for my future, the future I longed for with Joseph. What would he think? What would he do? What would my parents think? What would the neighbors say?
How was I to move forward in confidence of this beautiful revelation that had been spoken over me? I had more questions than answers. But I had faith. I truly believed that God would be with me as the angel had said. I chose to trust God with my future, and I knew in my heart that God was the One writing the story of my life.
I really didn’t know what to do at this point
I really didn’t know what to do at this point. So, I packed a bag and left to visit my relatives Zechariah and Elizabeth.
I had heard the story of Zechariah in the temple. I heard that an angel of the Lord met him there revealing to him the Lord’s plan for their lives, even in their old age. I heard that Elizabeth was now pregnant as the angel had spoken over them. And in my heart I knew that I needed to go be with them.
When I arrived at their house and walked through the door, Elizabeth was completely overjoyed to see me. She was immediately filled with the Holy Spirit and cried out with a blessing over me. She said, “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb!”
Elizabeth was completely overcome with immeasurable joy. She knew what was happening. The Holy Spirit had revealed it. The mother of the Lord Jesus had come into her home. And perhaps the most surprising of all was that the baby in her womb leapt for joy. This baby, John, knew the joy of the presence of the Lord even from the womb. This child would be the one to prepare the people for the Messiah to come.
My heart was so full at that moment that I felt like it could burst wide open. And the only thing I could do was to cry out in a song of praise to the Lord for His goodness to me and His blessing over me.
I wasn’t quite sure how Joseph would respond when he heard the news. Would he be angry and upset about the situation? I knew that he was a kindhearted and good man and felt certain that he would do the right thing.
Joseph decided to end our relationship quietly
Joseph decided to end our relationship quietly as to not bring any shame on me. As he was making plans to that end, he too was surprised as an angel appeared to him in a dream. The angel said, “Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife.” The angel revealed to him that the baby in my womb was from the Holy Spirit and that I was going to have a Son and His name would be Jesus. This child would be the One who would save the people from their sins.
Joseph was a wise man with great faith. Joseph also had a choice to make. He too chose faith over fear.
He believed the angel and chose to trust God with his future. He chose trust over fear even when the plan was different than he thought it would be. He quickly took me to be his wife.
In nine short months I would give birth to a son and we would give him the name Jesus, Emmanuel – God with us.
My story continues as Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus decided to take a census of his land to count the people. Everyone was required to return to their hometown. Although I was great with child, we would be heading to Bethlehem, the city of David.
When we arrived in Bethlehem, the city was jam packed with people. I had never seen anything like it. The streets were so crowded you could barely pass through. We made it safely, but there was a problem. All of the inns were full, and we had no place to stay.
Finally, we met the nicest man who had a cave that he used to give shelter to his animals. He said we could stay there for the night. We gladly accepted, as this was truly our only option.
As I laid my head down on a pile of hay, exhausted yet joyful, I began to replay my story over again and again. I pondered every detail in my heart.
The prophet Micah had spoken about the Messiah
Then the thought came to me. The prophet Micah had spoken about the Messiah, that out of Bethlehem would come One who would be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from old, from ancient times. I began to feel the pain and knew this baby was coming tonight.
It was amazing to realize that God had orchestrated every detail, and I was about to give birth to the Son of God, fulfilling prophecy as the angel revealed in the City of David. And that night, the very first Christmas, Christ was born. God sent the Messiah into the world to make a way for redemption for all people through His one and only Son. It was miraculous and it was the most beautiful night of my life.
For Mary and Joseph, life didn’t exactly turn out the way they had planned. There were certainly bumps in the road and big things they didn’t see coming. We have a lot to learn from them about choosing to trust God with the unknowns of our lives.
Life doesn’t always turn out the way we had imagined.
We will each face unknowns. Life doesn’t always turn out the way we had imagined. But we can go forward with confidence knowing that it is God who is writing the stories of our lives. God created each of us uniquely and He has a great plan for each of us. We can choose to trust His plan for our lives with confidence; not confident in ourselves, but confident in the One who is able and always faithful.
Will you choose faith over fear?
“Therefore I ask you not to lose heart at my tribulations on your behalf, for they are your glory.
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:13-21)