Mary, Did You Doubt?
But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
“What if we’re wrong, Joseph?”
I wonder if Mary ever whispered those words. I wonder, years after Jesus’ birth when he seemed to be growing up like any other little boy, if Mary’s memory of the angelic visit seemed like a dream.
Last week a friend told me that his son has been expressing doubts about his faith. “Dad, sometimes I wonder if God is even real. If I just made all this stuff up in my head.” Can I confess something? I have had those doubts. Most believers have at some point. Wherever faith is present, doubt is there as well. I resonate with the prayer of a father in Matthew’s gospel whose son was possessed by a demon: “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
I wonder if Mary could sympathize too. The promise she was living was so incredible. Her little boy was Messiah? She was the mother of God? Maybe she misunderstood what the angel really meant. Maybe she was making this into a bigger thing than it was supposed to be.
Mary’s doubt could be the reason for Mary’s reassurances. She received a lot of them. Over and over, Jesus’ identity is confirmed: by angels, Elizabeth, shepherds, magi, Simeon, Anna. If Mary had received so many assurances, could it be because she needed them? Perhaps the Father was whispering, “I know this is hard to take in. I know you’re prone to explain things away. Here’s another proof. Keep believing.”
Where do your doubts hide? What causes you to doubt Jesus’ identity, or your own?
After that father in Matthew’s gospel expressed his mixture of faith and doubt, Jesus did the one thing that could give him the most reassurance. He healed his son. Is God offering you similar assurances? Is he whispering that his promises can be trusted?