Being the age of parents, it is different to consider Mary and her condition in the light of her own parents. Being of parenting age, it is not hard to fathom the range of feelings and responses that I would have if I had been Mary’s parent. Understandably, by marriageable age, a young girl would have been trained in running a household and well-prepared for marriage expectations. I can’t help but wonder a bit beyond that, however. She was still rather young, barely beyond playing with siblings in the back as mother hung the laundry to dry.
Did she even have siblings? We know about her cousin Elizabeth who was much older than she was (Luke 1:7). Who did Mary travel with to go and visit Elizabeth? We have no idea if both of her parents were still alive, or only one. Perhaps her parents were older and only had one child, a daughter. They have made a match for her, as they have seen fit, and then she comes to them with the news. What would the conversation have been like once Mary saw the vision of an angel telling her she would be with child, from the Spirit?
‘Hi Mom… um… I’m pregnant, or I’m going to be pregnant. No, no it isn’t Joseph.’ ‘I mean to say that I had a vision.’ How would that go? Disbelief, crying, exclamations, for sure.
It must have been a very interesting conversation. Some envision Mary has a holy and spiritual wonder, that she was wise and mature beyond her years. Frankly, even in my forties, I am not sure how I would handle such news, such a visit, and the resulting conversations with family and with the groom. I imagine that Mary was a quiet, contemplative gal. If she were as talkative as I am, she never would have made it to the altar without scandal.
Mary was a young woman, a very young woman. We know nothing of her family and how they took the news. Perhaps a bit like Joseph, the were concerned about the parentage and thought they would end up with her divorced and back in the house with a young one to raise. Perhaps they too had visions and reassurance from God that all would be well. They may have wanted to protect Mary, though betrothals at the time meant that Joseph was legally responsible for the child, there were other potential consequences.
If we consider what those consequences would be today, in a family that was well-respected in the church, as perhaps Mary’s family was in the synagogue, the impact would be notable. The gossip, the question of personal virtue, the loss of esteem, the disapproval.
In the end Mary’s family trusted. They had to trust, indeed. There was nothing for them to do. They had to trust and wait on God. How many of today’s situations are like that? We really can’t do anything to change the situation or make it any different from how it is, other than surrender to God and trust, waiting. God is working.
Certainly here, we would assist Mary in caring for herself, ensuring that the she is well-fed and resting and exercising as she should. But otherwise, God needs to do His thing, without our impeding it. Waiting does not always mean ‘doing nothing.’ Active waiting will involve prayer, shouldering one another’s burdens, seeking God and His word, and trusting in Him.
Maybe they clung to Psalm 27 for a period. The last verse, 14 says ‘Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.’ The wait in original Hebrew has a connotation of hope and expectation of what is to come. That positive outlook in the difficulty of circumstances is generally a choice. It is frequently a choice that we have to make daily, or multiple times a day. We wait in hopeful expectation for our God to complete his work in situations out of control.
What verse or verses do you find comfort in during tough times? Leave a comment for us.