We all enter life with expectations of how we want things to go. Perhaps when you started your career, you had plans and dreams of what that job would look like. Maybe the hopes for your marriage weren’t meet and you were left disappointed. Regardless of your situation, we all understand this frustrating feeling. But friends, it is how we respond to those challenges that truly define who we are.
This past Sunday, we looked at the story of Mary learning that she would become pregnant with the Messiah. This story has always been striking to me for several reasons. First, we often overlook the fact that Mary is a teenager. Think of when you were a teenager, how would you have received a message from an angel of the Lord? I know that I would be both afraid and intimidated. And second, Mary had plans. This story begins with the reader learning that Mary is pledged to be married to Joseph. They are engaged and likely planning their future life together. I image that Mary was consumed with what life with Joseph would be like, how their home would look, and maybe even dreaming of a future family. But in a flash, those dreams are gone because God has another plan for Mary.
In Scripture, Mary rightfully challenges this divine life change by pointing out the obvious, how is this even biologically possible? But the angel responds that the Holy Spirit will make this possible and that God will overshadow her. I believe that it is in this moment, that all of Mary’s fears and concerns go away. It’s the first time in this story that she realizes that God will protect her and that God will provide a way.
I think the story of Mary connects with all of us for two reasons. We’ve all experienced life changes and endured the frustration of things not going the way we want them to. And more importantly, we all need to be reminded that God will always provide a way. Even when we cannot see where God is leading us, God will overshadow us in the same way that he did with Mary.