Luke #9 – The Difference Between Doubt and Ignorance (With Some Confirmation and Compliance on the Side!)
“Then said Mary unto the angel, ‘How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?’ And the angel answered and said unto her, ‘The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible.’ And Mary said, ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.’ And the angel departed from her” (Luke -38 – King James Version).
I’m not tall, but what I miss in height I more than make up for in berth! To be frank, I am about 5’10” tall and I weigh 295 pounds. To put it lightly, I’m a big ‘old boy! (Did you get it? “To put it lightly”…I’m funny!) Often my size has fooled people. There is a certain friend of mine (whose name I won’t say, but his initials are Craig Willingham…another funny!) thought big meant slow. We had a foot race. We tied, but that fella thought he would beat me sound and sure.
One night, after a Bible study, some of my youth and I were talking about cheerleading or gymnastics; I can’t recall which. Somehow the discussion turned to a debate over whether I could do a “toe-touch.” I wasn’t real sure what a toe-touch was; they explained that it meant one would jump up and touch the toes to one’s palms. “Why sure,” I said incredulously, “I can do that.” Several youth laughed, one said there was no way I could do it and another thought that I could (but that one youth wanted to see it!) The believer was Brittany Brown, a skinny and very athletic cheerleader. She could do a toe-touch but just couldn’t understand HOW I could, being such a rotund fellow, but she said she thought I could do it. The doubter said there was NO way I could do it. Well…I did that little toe-touch thing. Several jaws dropped, the doubter hushed, and
The simple difference between doubt and ignorance is that the former says a thing can’t be done and the latter just doesn’t understand how it will work. The best thing to do is shut a doubter’s mouth with action. An ignorant person, on the other hand, is not bad; they might not understand the mechanics of a thing; they just need to be educated.
Zacharias was a doubter (). God hushed Zacharias mouth for a while! Mary basically said “It’s not that I don’t believe, I just don’t understand.” Mary did not doubt that God could do something of this nature but she simply did not understand how it would work out. In response, the angel explains it to her. She says, “Okay, no problem.” Further, the angel’s words served as one form of confirmation for Mary and the news that her elderly cousin was pregnant as well. That’s why she has no problem complying; God’s going to do something in her life and He’s already done a miracle in the life of Elisabeth. Confirmation was in the angel’s words and Elisabeth’s pregnancy. Compliance was Mary’s willingness to be used.
Let’s look honestly at ourselves today. Are we doubters or simply ignorant? Is our faith posture one that doubts God will do something or do we simply not understand how He will do it?
Now I am a firm believer that God can do a lot of things that I won’t understand how they’ll be done. I’m just ignorant! BUT I am willing to be educated. I am also thankful that I get to participate in many of these things. Hindsight often shows me the mechanics but faith allows for the possibility! I think we ought to be open to hearing from God; that we ought not to doubt what He can do even if we don’t understand how He’ll do it. Let’s open our lives to the impossible for God is Lord over that.