When Grace Visits the Ordinary, Miracles Happen!
There are two important things about God’s grace that we need to take note of right from the start:
- Grace [or divine favor] is undeserved. You cannot earn it but you need it. The good news is that you have it!
- Grace Empowers [enables]. God’s grace enables us to do God’s will, which would otherwise be impossible for us to do.
The bible is God’s story orchestrated by grace. One of the stories that powerfully demonstrate God’s grace is that of Mary, the mother of Jesus.
- The great disappointment
Luke 1:26-31 In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” 29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31 You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. .
Mary was a young village girl; perhaps about 14 years of age. Like any other girl of her time and age, she had dreams. She was looking forward to her wedding day; she was perhaps dreaming about her marriage, her first pregnancy and her first baby. But in a moment all her dreams would be quashed, or so it seemed, and all that could be left would be a sense of bewilderment and confusion. Her life, her future was at stake.
Think about this for a moment. This Angel comes and announces news. You are highly favored. That’s okay. We all want to hear that. “You will have a son…” and now I can hear Mary take a deep breath and ask, “what!? Come on Angel, can’t you see me; don’t you know that I am just a little girl; a virgin? I am just 14. In fact I have a fiancé. What you are talking about is impossible.” The angel was telling her, “You will be with child.” This was not going to be Mary’s job; Someone other than her would make it happen to her, yet He needed her consent, her permission. Before God gives you what He has for you, you must first surrender what you’re holding onto, however precious it may seem to be. God wants to give you HIS AGENDA for your life but before he does that he will first disappoint you. He wants to take away your small little dreams and give you HIS DREAM. He is wants to take away your toys and give you the real thing. God’s choice of us is entirely because of his favor. It has nothing to do with how smart we are or our backgrounds or even our spirituality.
- Mission Impossible
34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” This was not only difficult, it was impossible! And even if it were possible, it would put Mary’s life in danger. In her culture, a woman I would be stoned to death for having a baby out of wedlock. Surely, anyone could have thought that this was anything but a blessing.
“How will this be…since…?” A virgin girl having a baby? That’s IMPOSSIBLE! Grace can be unsettling: How can it be that God can save a sinner like me? How can it be that heaven has interest in someone like me? How can it be that a virgin can have birth? Naturally speaking, Mary had all reasons why she was “a wrong” person: she was young, poor, female and a virgin. We all have feelings of inadequacy when faced with the reality of what God would want us to do.
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you…” The Holy Spirit is God the enabler, the executor of the work of the Father and the Son. When you feel overwhelmed by the task God has assigned you, God’s Spirit will overshadow you.
36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. 37 For nothing is impossible with God.”
When you tempted ask “how me?” remember the testimonies of godly women and men whom God has used despite of their overwhelming challenges—whom the Bible calls “a cloud of witnesses.” Do you remember David and Goliath, Gideon, or Paul? When you feel overwhelmed, God’s Spirit will overshadow you. “For nothing is impossible with God.” Whatever God says he will do, he will do.
- The Divine-human collaboration
38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.”
“I am the Lord’s servant….” This is humility, stewardship, worship, the only attitude and response that God requires of us. This is the attitude that changes the world; that changes the course of history. It is a combination of divine grace [favor] and human obedience that brings the change. God in his wisdom has determined to work through human agents to accomplish his purposes. This is where it all begins if we are to serve God as he requires of us—“I am the Lord’s Servant” kind of attitude.
In essence, Mary was saying, I am God’s Bondslave – at His exclusive service “may it be done according to your word.” My reason for living is just to do your will. I embrace your dream for me. I will not hold onto my little dreams. I will gladly give up the toys. One thing I have resolved is that I am the Lord’s servant. I am here not to serve my own interests but to embrace your dream for me. How about you? How have you responded to God’s grace?
God’s calling does not necessarily bring endless happiness and joy, but also pain, loss, sadness, and disappointments. Can you imagine what Mary would go through as a result of her obedience? Without doubt she was blessed—and blessed above all other women at that—but she was about to go through immense pain and suffering as a result of the nature of the ministry of her son. So, when you accept to serve God, I am not promising life free of pain and challenges, but a life of suspense and excitement as we see God working extraordinary things through the ordinary you.
When God’s Grace Visits the Ordinary Miracles Happen!