Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

How Will This Be, Since I Am A Virgin?

Mary's question is better than Zechariah's.

Luke 1:34-38 (ESV)

And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

Notice that Mary’s question doesn’t upset Gabriel. She asks, “How will this be?” not, “How shall I know this?” The difference is just a few words but it’s night-and-day in meaning. She’s asking how, not if. Mary doesn’t doubt Gabriel’s words; she just wants to know how this will happen.

And Gabriel’s answer confirms this interpretation; he tells her how she will get pregnant. He could have prefaced this with, “I’m glad you asked,” since she needs to know this. Otherwise, she might have been pretty scared by the events he describes.

Then Gabriel adds great news about Elizabeth. Mary’s happiness meter hits the pin. Part of God’s blessing on Mary is that He keeps her sane through all this. She has a lot of work to do. Her role is glorious but far from easy.

Time to go see Elizabeth.

Many people are on roads they did not expect to walk. Mary’s road turned out to be super-painful, but she had the encouragement of seeing God’s hand in everything. Our friends need that same encouragement. Ask God to comfort them by revealing Himself.

I often find myself embarrassed by praying for the wrong thing. I want God to take people off the road He has put them on. Over time I sometimes see a different goal.

Christian fellowship often means coming alongside someone and helping them walk their road. Sometimes it’s a great help to just point out some things along that road. Encouragement is a holy task.

But don’t stop praying that pain be minimized or that a tough road be short. Lessons can be brief. God loves to bless his people; never assume that a trial must be permanent.

You just never know. His ways are higher than our ways.

The weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available for download here:


Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

Subscribe to Ailbe Newsletters

Sign up to receive our email newsletters and read columns about revival, renewal, and awakening built upon prayer, sharing, and mutual edification.

No