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What Mary Teaches Us about Courage and Obedience

The Bible is full of women of courage, dignity, and heart for the Lord. One of the most remarkable women in the Word was the one who God specifically chose to carry the Messiah, the Savior of the World, Jesus. We often quickly gloss over Mary in the story of Christ's birth, but when we dig deeper, there is so much we can glean and learn from her and her story. Mary was a woman after God's own heart who led a life of courage and obedience.

The Call Upon Mary

In Luke 1, we are told of the story of how Mary responded to the call of the Lord for her life. Luke 1:26 shares how the news was given to her, "God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you." Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be."

In nearly every instance of an Angel coming to speak with a human, there is a level of alarm at the sight of something not of this world. This was a time when signs and wonders had not occurred for some time, so an Angel visitation to a teenage girl was especially unexpected. Yet, if we recall the prophecy given in Isaiah 7:14, "Therefore the Lord himself will give you[c] a sign: The virgin[d] will conceive and give birth to a son, and[e]will call him Immanuel." As much as we would expect Mary to run and hide, she does not. She stands before Gabriel with an open heart and ears to hear that which he had come to share. Gabriel shares with her that she has found favor with God and, as such, has been the one chosen to carry and bring forth the long-awaited promise of Christ. Can you even imagine what Mary felt in such a moment?

Mary's Response

If we are to consider how Mary's response was so profound, we must evaluate the context in which this response was given. Mary was a teenage girl at the time, not yet married to Joseph. She was betrothed and promised to marry Joseph, but she was not yet a wife. In the Middle East, during this time, a woman who was unwed and found to be with child could face far more than just a judgmental gaze. There was also the knowledge that her engagement to Joseph would be jeopardized as well. Thankfully, later in the text, we are told that God comes to Joseph in a dream assuring him of Mary's faithfulness and the legitimacy of what she had told Joseph of the baby in her womb being the Son of God. Mary's response to Gabriel is both honest and a clear example of her heart for the Lord. She was not randomly selected to be the mother of Jesus; she was chosen with thought and purpose. She responds to Gabriel in Luke 2:34-38, "How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?" The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[b] the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail." "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May your word to me be fulfilled." Then the angel left her." 

In order to fully recognize what Mary agreed to, we must realize all that she knew awaited her in accepting the call, yet she does so with an obedient heart. Mary was less focused on how this would impact her life and make things more difficult and was more focused on being a loyal and faithful servant to God.


We can take inspiration from Mary in her response to Gabriel at the call of God. Mary chose to accept the call of God in her life. It becomes clear why she was chosen to bear the Son of God because of how she accepts the call over her life in the visitation from Gabriel. We can take inspiration and encouragement from Mary in our own lives. She was human, made of flesh and blood just as we are, and she lived in a culture that, in many ways, was more difficult than our own. There is no doubt that she had to have been full of fear, yet she did not say "no." God does not always call us to easy paths or journeys, but He also is with us along the way. We can do the natural, relying upon Him to do the super. It is there that He receives more glory, and we have the opportunity to serve Him and bring about His Will on earth by doing so. He asks us for our obedience, and He will make the way. Mary shows us that even if we do not know exactly what will happen, we can trust He already has a plan.

Mary was a woman of great courage and faith who was asked to bring about the promise of God on earth through mothering Jesus. She can be a great inspiration when God calls us to do big things. Instead of telling God "no" because of our fear, we can be like Mary and humbly offer our "yes, Lord, May it be as You said" with our whole hearts. We can rely not on our own understanding or ability but rather knowing that God will supply all that is necessary along the way, and all that is asked of us is our willingness and obedience. It is a beautiful honor to be asked by God Himself to bring about His purposes on earth, and we are capable because He says we are by being chosen by Him.


Father God,

We praise You for the fulfillment of Your promise through Your Son, Jesus. We know that You chose Mary to be the mother of Christ, and we are greatly captivated and inspired by her story. Lord, give us hearts after Your own heart like that of Mary. Help us not to focus on the fear or what ifs but instead to focus on You in every instance. Remind our hearts that when You call us to something, You never leave us in a place where we are not covered and protected by You. You can see far past we can, and there is a plan to bring about Your Will. All you need is our "yes." Help us to take a nod from Mary in responding to Your asks with a whole heart and willingness to move forward, even if we still have questions.

In Jesus' Name,


Photo credit: ©The Chosen; used with permission

Cally Logan is an author and US History teacher from Richmond, Virginia. In her free time, she enjoys mentoring youth and spending time in nature. She is the author of Hang on in There, Girl! and Dear Future Husband: A Love Letter Journey While Waiting for God's Best. Check her out on Instagram and Twitter, @CallyLogan and TikTok Cally_Logan. 

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