1. A heavenly being tells them, “You will bear a son.”Who needs a pregnancy test, when the Lord or one of his messengers brings the glad tidings? The Lord told Abraham, “At that time your wife Sarah will have a son” (Genesis 18:10), and the angel Gabriel said to Mary, “Listen! You will become pregnant and give birth to a son” (Luke 1:31). In both cases the news was unexpected, even unnerving. Sarah laughed. Mary was startled. The timing seemed off. No way could they become pregnant. Not now.
2. Their conceptions will require a miracle.Sarah isn’t merely old; she’s “past the age when women normally have children” (Genesis 18:11). Her eggs are history. Conception wouldn’t just be difficult; it would be impossible without heavenly intervention. Mary’s situation is even more challenging. She asks the angel, “How will this happen since I am a virgin?” (Luke 1:34) Good question, Mary.
3. They need to believe God can do anything.In their lives and in ours, this is the biggie. This is the leap called faith. “If I jump, Lord, will you catch me? If I try something I’ve never done before, if I risk everything to follow you, if I give my heart to this man who says he loves me, if I step up to the plate when I’d rather slink back to the bleachers, will you be there for me? Can you make things happen? Can you do the impossible?” That’s exactly the question posed to Sarah, then answered in the same breath: “Is anything too hard for the Lord? No!” (Genesis 18:14) In the same way the angel assured Mary, “God can do anything!” (Luke 1:37) Yes, he can, as the healthy babies in their arms will soon prove. Is this the year you truly begin to believe? To live and love and work and wait with confidence, knowing God is powerful enough to change what needs changing? He is more than able. And more than willing. As Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid; just believe” (Mark 5:36).
Liz Curtis Higgs is the author of 30 books, including Bad Girls of the Bible and The Girl’s Still Got It. She will speaking with Women of Faith in Fall 2013 for Believe God Can Do Anything. This December join her Wednesday Bible Study Blog for “The Women of Christmas: Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna.” http://www.LizCurtisHiggs.com/blog/