The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore, the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God.” (Luke 1:35)
Mary faced a seemingly impossible scenario: giving birth while still a virgin. She had already asked the angel how this could be? It didn’t make sense, and she was dumbfounded at the thought of giving birth without sexual relations.
The angel addresses Mary’s doubt by revealing to her that God’s Holy Spirit will bring it about in her life. The power of the Most High will overshadow Mary. To overshadow means to cast a shadow, much like a cloud does with the sun. In the Old Testament especially, a cloud often symbolized the immediate presence and power of God. We think of the cloud that overshadowed Mount Sinai, where Moses encountered God and received the Ten Commandments.
God’s power and presence would create new life in Mary’s virgin womb. The holy child, the Son of God, would be born because of God’s Spirit working in the life of Mary.
As we seek to discern God’s will for our lives, God’s power and presence overshadow us as well. Discernment must be Spirit-led. When we seek to live our lives apart from God’s presence and power, then we are destined to fail. Wherever humanity has sought to live outside of God’s shadow, humanity has fallen away from God’s will and God’s purposes. When we turn from God and into ourselves, then we will ultimately end up discouraged, frustrated, and fatigued. Outside of God’s presence, our lives remain barren to the possibilities of God.
Prayer: Help me to trust in your Holy Spirit to lead, guide, and direct my life.