How Will This Be?

Originally published December 1992

A young teenager girl was given the surprise of her life one day.Certainly her life would never be the same again.The angel, Gabriel, came to deliver a message.He said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored!The Lord is with you…Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.You will be with child and give birth to a sun, and you are to give Him the name Jesus.He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; His kingdom will never end.”Luke 1:28-33.This young girl’s response was, “How will this be?Luke 1:34.

The story is quite familiar with us.But this question may not be.Mary is visited by an angel, Gabriel, no less.She received this very encouraging and exciting word from this angel and her response was, “How will this be?”

Imagine, how could Mary ask that!That was an angel in front of her.This was a direct word from God and she dares to ask, “How will this be?”Does that matter?An angel gave her this word.How dare she question a messenger from God!

I like what Mary did.She was not going to take what the angel said at face value.She dug deeper.She wanted to know for sure.She was not afraid to ask questions—even to an angel.

I heard an elementary school vice principal speak on the importance for those young children to have mentors.The mentor’s chief and most important role was to listen to the children—to listen to their stories, their ideas, and their dreams.In her seventeen years of experience she has seen children who have ideas and dreams that go unlistened to.By the time they are in fourth or fifth grade their only responses have become “I don’t know.”Since their dreams and ideas went unlistened to when they were younger, they interpret these responses as being they had nothing to say.

How many “I don’t know” youth do you have in your youth ministry?Quite a few, huh?For some reason they do not think things through or they feel they do not have anything worthwhile to contribute.So whatever great insight and/or thirst for knowledge they have is locked behind “I don’t know.”

Questions are rarely a part of youth ministry much less part of our Christian walk.Questions cause us to assume a position of need.Asking questions indicates:I don’t know; I failed; I can’t find it’ I’m not sure; I don’t understand; I forgot; I didn’t listen; or I didn’t care.And somehow the perception has gotten out that we cannot be in a position of need.After all, we are children of God.We are supposed to have been touched by God and are thus completed works of God.

In fact, our very message we present them (those on the outside lost in their sin) is “Come to Jesus and all of your problems will be solved.”We present them a closed system of Christianity.

This reminds me of the swami character Johnny Carson used to playIn his hand he held an envelope with a question in it.He would hold it up to his turban-covered head and speak out an answer and then read the question.If we are blessed enough to get questions from our youth, we tend to hold them up to our head and say, “Jesus.”

Pretty soon this answer becomes like a cheap bandage on a deep wound.Jesus is the answer but “how will this be?”Soon the questions no longer come.They are replaced with silence covering up the confusion deep inside.One day an answer—the wrong answer—for their questions may come along and this child of God may be gone.

This is exactly how the Jehovah’s Witnesses work.They bring up doubt in the Christian faith by asking questions that would not dared be asked by “true Christians.”The JWs have the answers for these questions—just make sure you don’t ask any questions ever again.The wound is touched and a new convert for them is found.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses is just one way.Most often the questions are covered with alcohol and/or physical relationships.

However, I’m not a completed child of God.I am continuing to grow.Are you a completed project?I’m sure the answer is an adamant “no!”

Mary as well as Jacob did not exist in this closed system.Jacob, the heel-grabber, received the birthright from Isaac.He was to carry on the dream God gave to Abraham.

One night while on his way to reunite with his brother, Jacob was wrestled to the ground.All night he wrestled with this man.Like everything else in his life, he went after it, even if he didn’t know who this man was.Daybreak came.And with daybreak came the discovery that he was wrestling with God.

Jacob wrestled with God.Who would dare?!If most Christians realized they were wrestling with God, there reaction would have been, “Oh!I’m sorry, God.Did I hurt You?Let me dust You off.I am so sorry to have done this to You.”

That was not Jacob’s way.He wrestled to the point that the man could not overpower him.Finally God had to touch Jacob’s hip socket.Even then Jacob did not relent.He said, “I will not let You go unless you bless me.”Genesis 32:26.

Wait a minute.Jacob was already blessed, even if it was ill-gotten.

Yet this was his chance to know he had the blessing.This heel-grabber was going to hang on with all his might until he knew he had the blessing.Even though Mary had received a message from an angel, she had to pursue further.

This tenacity needs to be developed in our youth.It needs to be developed in our lives.We cannot give our lives to God and live out the rest of our lives as if that is all there is to this new life.He gave us a free will and a mind to find more out about Him, to be on a continual journey with Him.He wants us to dig in beyond our fears and wrestle with Him about these questions we have.I believe He is thrilled with the wrestling matches.

Jacob went away from his wrestling match with a limp.Whenever he took a step, he had a memory of taking his issues to God and coming away with God.

Warning:teenagers with questions take time.They will want you to wrestle with them.They will cause you to wrestle with God yourself.And you as well as they will go away with a memory of being with God.

Mary dared to ask Gabriel and she became the mother of Jesus.