Gabriel’s Story

For no word from God will ever fail.” Luke 1:37 (NIV)

It was a delicate assignment – He stressed as much – a high priority mission to deliver a message. And it had to be done face to face. In my countless eons of service I never imagined I’d be asked to undertake a duty like this. It was unheavenly – out of the universe!

After receiving orders I went to my quarters, sat down, and took stock. Every detail and contingency had to be carefully planned. The strategic implications were enormous. And the timing was critical. I had to get in, get out, be gentle, and do it right.

When I arrived, I scouted the terrain, looking for the right place to make contact. I couldn’t afford interruptions or distractions. I had to get her in a place where she’d be alone – a place where running away wouldn’t be an option. The path that climbed up from the well was perfect. It was isolated and hemmed in by the walls of the wadi.

It was early morning when I went into action. She was climbing easily, a jar on her head. I stood up from behind the rock where I’d been waiting, and greeted her: “Good morning! You’re highly favoured – beautiful! God be with you.”

The colour drained from her face. She looked like she was going to bolt, but glancing around, realised there was nowhere to run. I was relieved, the spot was well chosen.

She was only a child really, maybe thirteen, not much more. I gave her a second to calm down and then reassured her: “Mary, you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you. You will become pregnant, give birth to a son, and name him Jesus.” The message shocked me. I couldn’t begin to imagine how it must have impacted her. I pressed on: “He will be great . . . the Son of the Most High . . . and his kingdom will never end.”

I paused, letting the enormity of it sink in. I still didn’t get it myself – the entire enterprise resting on this young girl . . . She interrupted my brief reverie asking, “But how will this happen? I’ve never slept with a man?”

He had briefed me carefully on how to answer this question. I was relieved He had. Even if He’d given me a thousand years I wouldn’t have been able to dream up an answer like the one I was about to give: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God . . . For nothing is impossible with God.”

The message delivered, I was ready to execute my exit strategy. Turning, I made to walk away when she said, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”

Mission accomplished, I stepped back behind the rock . . .

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