Believing the “unbelievable.”This week’s lessons teach us that our God is all-powerful. Lesson

I like something the great English bishop J.C. Ryle wrote years ago about the God of the impossible. He said,
There is no sin too black and bad to be pardoned. The blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin. There is no heart too hard and wicked to be changed. The heart of stone can be made a heart of flesh. There is no work too hard for a believer to do. We may do all things through Christ, who strengthens us. There is no trial too hard to be borne. The grace of God is sufficient for us. There is no promise too great to be fulfilled. Christ’s words never pass away. And what he has promised, he is able to perform. There is no difficulty too great for a believer to overcome. When God is for us, who shall be against us? The mountain shall become a plain. With God all things are possible.
I want to make one more point. I said that the word of Gabriel to Mary was the last word he spoke, and that is true. But it is not the last word of the story. After Gabriel had told Mary how the Holy Spirit would come upon her, and the One who should be born would be called “the Son of God,” and after Gabriel had added the fact that Elizabeth, a relative, would have a child, and he said, “Nothing is impossible with God,” Mary had a response as well. What Mary said was this: “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.” That is the end of the story, and it indicates this willing acceptance on the part of Mary for the will of God.
Sometimes we have difficulty with the promises of God, and that is often because our plans intrude into what we would have God do. We hear what God says, but we say, “No, that isn’t what I want. I would rather God did something else.” I suppose that for Mary this was a very courageous thing for her to do, as well as an indication of the grace of God in her life, because Mary risked a great deal by submitting herself to the will of God in this matter. She would possibly be accused of being an adulterer, a fornicator, and that was punishable by death in that day. She risked the end of her engagement with Joseph because who could possibly imagine that Joseph would understand. She certainly risked the loss of her reputation. And yet this was what God had for her. And so, in those magnificent words that end the story, she said, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”
Maybe you have to say those words today if God is doing something in your life that seems difficult, or perhaps even something that you’ve been rebelling against. You’ve been asked to live in a difficult situation that you seem unable to change. You want to break free of it, but that is not God’s will for you. God’s will is given clearly in Scripture. You don’t see how you can obey God at that point. However, you can, because God will give you the power to do it. With God, all things are possible. You may say to yourself, “I’ve lost a husband [or wife]. Now I’m asked to go on in older age alone. I don’t see how I can do that and remain a cheerful Christian.” God will give you strength.
Or maybe you have an impossible boss. Demands are made upon you that you can hardly live with. You say, “My job is boring. I find myself doing the same dull thing day after day, year after year. At one time, I thought I was going to get a promotion, and now I’m reconciled to the fact that I’ll probably keep on doing this till retirement.” God is not only able to give you strength to do it; he’s able to transform it. He is able to transform you, making you a joyous person to be around, and your work place – however boring externally – an exciting place where God is at work in the lives of other people. But for that to happen, you have to submit to God’s will, not to fight it, as many of us do. You have to say, as Mary did, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to  me as you have said.” When Mary submitted herself to God, God sent the Savior.

Study Questions
  1. How did Mary respond to Gabriel’s message?
  2. Why do we sometimes have difficulties with God’s promises?

Reflection: Are you willing to take the risks that Mary took? If not, the least you can do is pray and ask for a willing and submissive heart.
Key Point: You have to say, as Mary did, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”

Tagged under
More Resources from James Montgomery Boice

Subscribe to the Think & Act Biblically Devotional

Alliance of Confessional Evangelicals

About the Alliance

The Alliance is a coalition of believers who hold to the historic creeds and confessions of the Reformed faith and proclaim biblical doctrine in order to foster a Reformed awakening in today’s Church.

Canadian Donors

Canadian Committee of The Bible Study Hour
PO Box 24087, RPO Josephine
North Bay, ON, P1B 0C7