Luke 1:38 Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”
There are two points that came to my mind with today’s Gospel reading. For starters, as Christians, I think each of us would like to believe we’re following God’s will in our lives. That being said, this isn’t exactly an easy call to answer.
Following God’s will requires commitment. Something many of us don’t know as much about as we pretend to. Practice is needed. This isn’t always easy when things don’t seem to be going our way. Most of all, a high level of trust is needed to follow God’s will. Not only trust in Jesus, but also in the fact we are clearly recognizing the pull and push of the Holy Spirit.
As a Christian man, I can come up with many examples of why following God’s will can seem almost impossible. But yet, here is this teenage girl in the Bible willing to do whatever is required to fulfill God’s calling in her life. In an age when teen pregnancy and single mothers seem to be the norm, I think we miss out on what all this, one of a kind call, looked like in Mary’s life.
She was engaged to be married and was expected to be a virgin. How exactly do you explain being pregnant? Joseph obviously would’ve realized the child was not his own. In Jewish culture, this was unacceptable. We all know of the story about the woman who was caught in adultery and what was about to happen before Jesus spoke to the group of men who were ready to throw stones.
In a society where we are quick to create explanations and reasons why following God is so difficult, in this passage, we have to answer this young girl who wants to know, “What’s your excuse again? Why is it so difficult for you to follow the will of God? This is the same woman who tells the servers at the wedding in John Chapter two, “Do whatever he tells you.”
This leads me to my second point. I have written about this passage several times for a few different websites, both Catholic and Protestant. Each time I get the same response in at least one comment. “How exactly do I know God’s will in my life? These verses and stories took place over 2000 years ago? Surely God’s will for me is a little more specific?”
I’ll be honest, sometimes I purposefully write about this verse for a setup. This question is not only the simplest to answer, but it’s also one of my favorites. Getting to know God is the only way you will ever discover a specific calling or will He has in your life. I need you to read that last sentence again. Notice it doesn’t say “Learn about God.” I said get to know God.
You’re not going to do this listening to a homily at mass on Sunday. You get to know God by putting your nose in a Bible and studying His Word. You spend time in prayer every day. Just a quick heads up. Your food is already going to nourish you. It’s food. That’s what it does. Jesus isn’t going to surround you. That’s because His Spirit dwells inside you. Your prayers are going to have to be a little more original than that.
You get to know God’s will by talking to Him like a friend. Discuss your day. Tell Him your problems and your struggles. Let Him know what has happened in the last 24 hours that has brought you joy. Yes, He’s God. He already knows. That doesn’t matter though. He wants to hear it from you.
If you read a few verses prior to 38, you will find out that Mary was favored by God. This wasn’t because she had beautiful hair or a nice figure. There wasn’t something special she did with her eyeliner. She was favored because she knew God. She prayed. She was obedient. Most of all, she was in a position to hear from God. Think about that for a minute. If God was going to make it easy for you and send the angel Gabriel to tell you His will for your life, would you even have time to stop and listen? Are you even setting aside enough time through the day to hear God speak?
Read your Bible. Pray about what you’re reading. Then sit and listen. When you do this enough that God sees it’s important to you, He’ll make sure you get the message. Buckle up. I’m almost willing to bet He’s going to want you to do something you’ve never imagined.