“Fully Convinced After A Laugh” (Romans 4: 20, ESV) by Carley Evans

Abram is “fully convinced that God is able to do what He promises.” (Romans 4: 21) Though his body is a hundred years old and his wife, Sarah is post-menopausal; (Genesis 18: 11) yet Abram “does not weaken in faith.” (Romans 4: 19)

“No distrust makes him waver concerning the promise of God.” (Romans 4: 20)

Instead, Abram “grows strong in his faith as he gives glory to God.” (Romans 4: 20)

Giving God the glory is the method through which Abram becomes “fully convinced” and unwavering in his belief in God’s promise to make him “the father of many nations.” (Romans 4: 18)

Both Abram and Sarai laugh as each hears God’s pronouncement that Sarai will bear Abram a son. Abram falls on his face and laughs when God tells him. (Genesis 17: 17) whereas Sarai laughs from within the tent as she hears the three angels announce to her husband that she is to be with child.(Genesis 18: 12)

The Lord challenges Abram, saying, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Genesis 18: 14)

Sarai denies her laughter, but God reminds her — “No, but you did laugh.” (Genesis 18: 15)

Abram and Sarai change names at God’s command. Abraham circumcises himself at ninety-nine years of age. Sarah bears a son at ninety-one years of age. Through these two people, the new covenant begins. (Genesis 17: 21)

First, a scoffing laughter; then an unwavering belief.

“Beyond Mary’s Imagination” (Luke 1: 26 – 28, ESV) by Carley Evans

Elizabeth is in her sixth month of pregnancy when the angel Gabriel comes to Mary to tell her that she is favored to be the mother of God.

“How will this be, since I am a virgin?” is the only question Mary asks of Gabriel. (Luke 1: 34)

Gabriel’s response is simple, “For nothing will be impossible with God.” (Luke 1: 37)

Mary says, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1: 38)

In this exchange, Mary shows herself to be completely trusting of her God. What Gabriel has told her is impossible by any stretch of the imagination. She does not ask how “the Holy Spirit will come upon” her or how “the power of the Most High will overshadow” her. (Luke 1: 35) She does not question that her son “will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.” (Luke 1: 32) She does not protest when Gabriel tells her that Elizabeth, who is old and thought barren, will also have a son and that she is already in her sixth month.

Mary simply accepts, even though she is troubled at first when Gabriel calls her “O favored one.” (Luke 1: 28) The greeting is meaningless to her initially, and only frightens her. Gabriel reassures Mary, telling her that she should not be afraid, that she “has found favor with God.” (Luke 1: 30)

Mary’s response is an acknowledgment that she is God’s servant, that He has favored her. She recognizes that God has chosen her for an unfathomable task — she is to carry God’s Son and name Him Jesus. Mary knows very little at this point except that she will obey.