Have you ever wondered, “Why me?” It’s usually something we think when things aren’t going well, when we feel like we’ve been singled out for some misfortune. It’s a rare thing to think of this question in terms of being chosen for a special honor, being singled out for some blessing.
I wonder if Mary asked herself, “Why me?” After the angel Gabriel was gone, after the startling moment when he announced her destiny, I wonder if she went home and wondered why she of all women was chosen for such an honor? I imagine the glow from that angel lasted for some time. I imagine it was a long time before Mary was concerned about the negative side of things. Perhaps she never was. Perhaps that’s why she was chosen.
Mary was ready to receive whatever God had for her. She didn’t try to get out of it, as Moses did when he pleaded with God to choose someone else for the job (Exodus 3:11- 4:13). She didn’t ask for another sign, as Gideon did when God called him to fight against a mighty army (Judges 8:36-40). She put no conditions on her obedience, as Barak did when God told him He was going to give him victory over his enemy (Judges 4:8). Mary didn’t doubt, as Zehariah did when Gabriel appeared to him and told him he would soon have a son (Luke 1:18). She simply agreed to do what God wanted her to do, no matter how impossible or difficult it seemed. “I am the Lord’s servant,” she said (Luke 1:38)
The angel Garbriel addressed Mary as “you who are highly favored” (Luke 1:28). The Greek word used for highly favored, “charitoo,” is used only one other time in the New Testament. It is used in reference to the body of believers, in Ephesians 1:6. The word literally means filled with grace, freely bestowed with all the richness of God – His love, His mercy, His grace and His power. We, like Mary, are God’s perfect choice for the job at hand. How do we respond to such a name? Are we pleading to God to accomplish His will through someone else, like Moses, or asking for more, like Gideon, or putting conditions on our service, like Barak?
God became one of us, to show us how to respond. He became a man to help us understand that we are highly favored, full of grace. This astounding fact is hard to live with. We are much more inclined to react with fear and doubt. But if we, like Mary, see ourselves in the right perspective, as servants standing in the glow of angels, as men and women not only bowing before the cradle of Christ but in the shadow of the cross, we can and will fulfill our destiny.
And then, like Mary, we will say, “My soul praises the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Luke 1: 46-47).