Grace appears in unusual ways and when we least expect it.
26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favoured one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”
The extraordinary announcement of Gabriel to Mary underscores an essential gospel truth, that is, God’s favour for us is not based on our behaviour but it is built on God’s love and acceptance of us. This was why Gabriel told Mary to rejoice.
God’s favour allows us to discover new dynamics in our relationship with God that we never knew were there or we never thought were possible before. We believe God can do the impossible, but like Mary, we can’t imagine God will do the impossible through us. Often, we would say “we don’t have the faith for that” or “my faith is not at that level yet”; but the truth is, faith is never supposed to be a “self-churning” exercise.
Intimacy with God grows our propensity for faith.
Faith comes by knowing how much God truly loves us, and if we take God’s love seriously, living by faith is not an elusive dream, but an ever-present reality.
While we may feel an enduring sense of shame when we don’t measure up or guilty about our lack of faith, but when we are awed by God’s grace and favour in Christ, we are willing to do what God calls us to do, not because we can never fail in our calling but because we have found courage in spite of our fear of failure. The power behind this transformation rests on the victory Christ won for us.
When Gabriel told Mary, “blessed are you among women”, this declaration of God’s favour becomes a pivotal place for her to take personal responsibility and discovery as to what this favour entails.
To know God’s favour is to rest in the truth that God will never forsake you, for He loves you too much to ever do that! Like Mary, our encounter with God’s favour opens a new perspective of life when we are more willing to take greater risks and be more vulnerable without fearing what lies ahead.
© Copyright Richard Tan, 2019.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version®.
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