“Zechariah asked the angel, ‘How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.'” (Luke 1:18, NIV)
“’How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’” (Luke 1:34, NIV)
It is okay for us to wonder how God will deliver us, or how God will provide for us, or how God will work-out an unworkable situation. Such thinking challenges our creativity, and reminds us of God’s greatness. God always arrives; and God is always on time, but He often appears from a direction or in a situation we had not considered.
It is not okay to wonder whether God has the power to deliver us, or the resources to provide for us, or the know-how to ensure success, because this kind of thinking insults our heavenly Father.
Today’s two scriptures are contrasts in these two ways of thinking about apparent impossibilities. In the former, Zechariah (the seasoned religious professional) questioned the promise, and was sidelined by God. In the latter, Mary (the simple, young, religious novice) questioned only the process while affirming her allegiance to the plan and the purposes of God.
To this day, Mary’s faith is heralded, while Zechariah’s insistence on “knowing before going” is a cautionary tale.
The next time God presents you with an opportunity to join Him in a task, will you respond as Mary — or as Zechariah? – Luther