A Blessing In Disguise
"In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary.
And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to 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.”
And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.”
And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her."
A Blessing In Disguise
If you read the account of Mary finding out that she's pregnant, it sounds very calm, cool and collected. It even sounds like Mary isn't surprised at all, which can't be the case.
I can guarantee you that it wasn't as easy for her as it sounded.
Simply the fact that a virgin finds out she's pregant is enough to become hysterical. I mean, consider how excited (and sometimes surprised) people get today when they find out - and it shouldn't surprise them near as much.
And then add in the fact that this was a huge cultural no-no. Having sex outside of marriage was punishable by death in her culture - and everyone in that day knew where babies came from.
We see in Matthew's account that Joseph was a "just man" and going to break the engagement and wedding quietly rather than taking her to public shame and punishment (Matthew 1:19) because he knew that he wasn't the father.
This news must have wrecked Mary.
Imagine the worry and fear she must have experienced.
While all along, the angel is telling her not to worry, and even her friends are telling her how "blessed" she is (Luke 1:42).
Sure, we can look with 20/20 hindsight vision and see how truly blessed she was to be such a big part of God's plan - but this must have been extremely difficult to live though.
Consider even the longterm effects:
Sure, Joseph heard from God and took her to be his wife anyway, but what about when Jesus grew up?
"...They [the religious leaders] said to Him [Jesus], “We were not born of sexual immorality...” -John 8:41
We see here that the religous leaders were trying to discredit what Jesus was doing and they used this "blessing" Mary was given.
I'm sure this wasn't the only time either.
This was probably something Mary lived with for the rest of her life.
Quiet whispers in the temple.
Side glances in the street.
Rumours, especially once Jesus started gaining public figure.
This "blessing," must have been difficult to be given.
It was surly, a blessing in disguise.
I don't know if you've ever experienced something like this. I'm guessing most of us have, though probably not to this degree.
But what we can be reminded from this,
Is that God works all things together for our good.
Yes, in this broken world, even the blessings of God can be used by Satan for our temporary hurt - but God always gets the last word.
So when He says that Mary is "blessed among women"
She is certainly blessed.
She may not have often felt blessed.
She may have certainly doubted that she was blessed.
And who knows how freqently she prayed that God would just bless somebody else instead.
But she continued to trust God with the hand she was dealt.
And decided to praise Him in the difficulty.
So, let's end with her famous statement dubbed the "Magnificat."
And remember, this was probably said though many fears, unknowns, worries and all the rest that she must have felt in this confusing time.
If you're in that place right now, you're in good company - and you can praise God with the same confidence and hope.
"And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever."