Inevitably, our surroundings shape who we are and who we will become. The family unit we grow up in, or lack thereof, will mold us and form us at every level, from our personality to our handling of emotions to our pronunciation of words. Our friendships and relationships will help us open up, experience and deal with heartbreak, and learn how to compromise. All these factors, and more, in our early years set up a pattern of behaviors that shape who we will become. To put it another way, your past experiences set up future expectations.
Imagine you are in Mary’s shoes. It’s a typical night. Then suddenly, an angel appears to you and begins speaking. What would your initial reaction be?
It was a startling experience. An angel of the Lord appearing out of nowhere was nothing like the mailman delivering a letter. This was one of God’s holy servants sent from heaven. The news Gabriel was bringing was also not normal. Bearing the holy Son of God was not a typical assignment.
In the midst of her uncertainty, Gabriel makes an incredible point: nothing is impossible with God (v.37). How can she know this? God had already worked a miracle in the life of Mary’s relative Elizabeth. Notice how Gabriel uses past tense—Elizabeth was called childless. But she is no more. Elizabeth has conceived (v.36). God worked in her and blessed her with a son. What was once true of Elizabeth is no longer.
The same would be true for Mary. Just like our upbringing and past relationships set up our future relationships, the past faithfulness of God sets us up to rest in the future assurance of His promises. The past faithfulness of God in giving Elizabeth a son is why Mary can rest in the future assurance that she will bear the very Son of God.
If we’ve seen God do the impossible throughout the entirety of Scripture and we truly believe in who He is, why would you and I doubt that He can do it again? We can see even more of God’s faithfulness in the rest of the New Testament and beyond that Mary didn’t have the luxury of knowing. We’ve seen God move through the explosion of the early Church, modern day revivals, and so much more.
In the midst of our fear, we can be reassured of God’s promise that nothing is impossible when we rest in the faithfulness of God!