Scripture: Luke 1: 26-38
The angel, Gabriel, came to visit a young, peasant woman, Mary, one day, announcing she would give birth to God's son. (verses 30-33). I like to image Mary baking bread when the angel appeared. Perhaps her hands were covered with dough, her focus on the shape of the bread forming with each movement of her fingers.
Mary replied to Gabriel, "I am a virgin. How, then, can this be?" (verse 34)
Often viewed as a model of obedience, Mary's question indicated uncertainty and confusion. The angel gave Mary more information about how the pregnancy would occur even sharing details about Elizabeth's pregnancy in advanced age as an additional example of what God can accomplish.
Mary replies, "I am the Lord's servant, may it happen to me as you have said." And the angel left her.(verse 38)
We don't know how much time passed between Mary being deeply troubled by the angel's news (verse 29), Mary's question (verse 34), and her acceptance (verse 38).
When serious illness comes, when relationships are impaired, when a beloved friend or family member dies suddenly, when a job loss or relocation happens, we too may be troubled like Mary and say, "How can this be?"
Through prayer, we offer ourselves to God, acknowledging we need God's help to grow through the many faces of circumstances which prompt the question "How can this be?"
Eventually, with God's companionship, strength and encouragement, we can join Mary, with acceptance and say, "I am yours, God. You are with me all of the time and through anything life presents."
Prayer: God, how many times do we cry out, "How can this be?" when we struggle or when we received unexpected blessings. Help us trust you for all parts of life. Amen.