Some ponderings on Luke 1:34-38, the virgin birth, miracles, and God...
How can this be?
Simply dealing with the declaration of truth (v. 37) is so hard. It requires such faith! God says it is so; the Bible says it is so; the Bible is from God. So much there to take on faith. Better to have some kind of sign.
Yes, a big sign (v. 36), that’s what I need… something unmistakable. But that’s so subjective. Maybe an older woman who never could have a baby COULD have a baby. Is that really a miracle? Jesus did miracles as a sign of who he was and where he came from, but it can be easy to write many of them off. Maybe a sign won’t do it. Better to have more specific proof.
Yes, proof, that’s what I need (v. 35). I need God to spell out what He wants and how it’s going to happen. Who should I marry? Where should I work? What should I do next? Some kind of angelic, personal text messaging – like a magic 8 ball. Funny that I might trust a magic 8 ball more than God’s Word… hmmm. We do so like specifics. And better yet, scientific proof – regarding creation, dinosaurs, miracles, even God’s existence. That’d do it. Except science is only good for what is natural, not what is supernatural. You can’t dissect a miracle. You can’t reduce God to a program or an experiment or a set of rules – that’s too small for a real God.
I’m not trying to layout some sort of intellectual trap. You know what? I get it. I understand just how hard it is to believe in, much less trust in God. My brain is not wired for the humanities; it is wired for math, programming, and science. But I see how unsatisfying the proof I would demand would be and is. It’s like telling your spouse you will only love them if they document where they are every hour of the day, whom they speak to, and what their intentions are. That doesn’t result in love, though it might satisfy curiosity. Love comes from trust extended – a kind of faith given and received. Likewise, requiring God to document His miraculous and infinite plans to our satisfaction may increasingly satisfy our curiosity, but is self-defeating in terms of faith, trust, and love. While Mary likely did not think in those terms, she heard the angel’s answer and trusted in God’s Word (v. 38). She did not latch on to the specific explanation or the miraculous sign, but responded in faith to the declaration of truth that God could accomplish His Word in her life.
From the Advent sermon: "Nothing Will be Impossible With God" (Luke 1:34-38)