[Part 1, Chapter 2]
The angel’s greeting was unexpected. Both the best—and the worst—things often are.
Mary is going about her business, whatever that may have been. She wasn’t doing anything holy. She wasn’t waiting on God, praying for a visitation, having a quiet time, or attending a prayer vigil.
‘Unexpected’ is one of the themes of grace and favour.
Expectations are often its killer.
We live in a society fixated with rights. We expect things. We paid for them, worked for them, bought flowers for them, apologised for them, studied for them … so there better be a return for it.
Subliminally, some of us slip into the same mindset with God. I’ve prayed to you, worked for you, sung about you, been moral for you; I’m expecting a return.
When unexpected good things take place, we can feel we deserve it.
When the unexpected comes—this time for the worse—we feel cheated. “How could this happen to someone like me? I’ve done the right things, eaten the right stuff, prayed the right way. Why me?”
It’s a question that gets asked for all things unexpected, whether good or bad. “Why me?”
Have you ever reflected on that? I guarantee she did.
Mary is ordinary. Her situation is ordinary. In that sense, you and I are Mary.
Then unexpectedly, and into the ordinariness, comes this message: “Greetings, favoured one!”
Why Mary? Well, why not? It had to be someone. If it hadn’t been her, we would be talking about the Virgin Gertrude, or the Virgin Frieda.
You are going to receive something unexpected as you read through these sketches. You are going to be led into the brilliantly liberating awareness of the unexpected goodness of God in your life.
The personal Father who sees you and greets you, comes to you unexpectedly, that is, generously, magnanimously, bigheartedly, openhandedly, tenderly, and relentlessly. It’s not like “you get this one chance and if you don’t take it, you’ve blown it.” There’s nothing unexpected in that. The world is full of such conditional transactions.
You’re reading this now. Unexpectedly, just like with Mary, he is choosing to speak to you, to include you, to favour you.
How good is that!