By Haley Osborn
“Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her.” - Luke 1:45
Nestled in the hills of the Galilean countryside sits a village. “Can anything good come out of Nazareth” (John 1:46)? A small, lowly town filled with ordinary people, including a young woman engaged to a man named Joseph. She travels to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover, eats the Sabbath dinner with family, dreams of her impending marriage, and lives under Roman occupation.
An ordinary woman chosen for an extraordinary purpose. God chose to bring about His plan to redeem the world through this faithful woman who would face scrutiny, ostracization, and the threat of death. What a promise this young woman was given! The promise of a child, of God’s favor, of the coming Messiah, of hope. Mary lived in hopeful anticipation of what the angel spoke to her through her faith and through fellowship with others.
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Mary fully believed what Gabriel spoke to her. At the end of their conversation, she proclaimed, “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled” (Luke 1:38). Her faith in the Lord was deeper than her doubt, yet when Gabriel called Mary “the favored one of the Lord,” she became troubled.
While Mary knew she was a servant of the Lord, she struggled to believe the identity the Lord spoke over her. What God called Mary into was challenging and dangerous. Undoubtedly, Mary understood the ramifications of her pregnancy, but instead of living in fear and doubt of the unknowns, Mary clung to the Lord’s promised provision.
Although Mary believed, she needed reassurance of the Lord’s promises. Mary’s visit with Elizabeth strengthened her heart and mind through words of affirmation and reiteration of her identity in the Lord. As a godly woman, Elizabeth was positioned to mentor Mary and reinforce the truths the Lord had spoken to Mary. Knowing she would be accused of adultery, Mary sought comfort from another who had also received a miraculous blessing from God. Elizabeth’s willingness to be a conduit of the Holy Spirit allowed her to remind Mary of the favor the Lord had bestowed upon her and that she was blessed among women.
Through the mentorship of Elizabeth, Mary would experience, not only God’s promise, but the encouragement of a godly woman who was an example of the Lord’s faithfulness. “God with us” came through a woman who God was with. Elizabeth’s encouragement leads into a powerful song of praise and prayer. Mary’s Magnificat reiterates Mary’s favor with the Lord, His promises - not only to her, but to His people - and His provision in everything.
Mary’s faith and Elizabeth’s mentorship allowed Mary to hope in the Lord’s promise. Isaiah prophesied, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call Him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). Throughout advent, we live in hopeful anticipation of God’s promises.
Are you living in a season of despair or uncertainty, or one where God’s promises are confusing? In this season, we remember that God used a virgin woman from Nazareth and a barren woman from the tribe of Aaron to encourage one another and remain faithful. Gabriel reminded Mary, “Nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37). If the woman who was chosen to carry Immanuel struggled, yet believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises, how much more are we to live in the hopeful anticipation of His promises to us.
Haley serves on Team MORE and is a Colorado native who loves sunshine, adventuring with friends and reading a good book. She is an avid connoisseur of local coffeeshops and taco restaurants. Haley longs to see women experience God's freedom and find purpose in their lives. Writing and prayer have helped Haley navigate the turbulent waters of life, and she longs to partner with women as they seek the Lord in their daily lives.
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