34Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” (Luke 1:26-38)


Contrast Mary’s encounter with the angel to Zacharias’ encounter just six months earlier. Gabriel told Zacharias he would have a son by a miraculous birth, and Zacharias asked him how a thing like that could be, since both he and his wife were beyond childbearing age. Zacharias’ unbelief angered Gabriel, and he struck him dumb until the birth of his son. (Luke 1:18-20)

Mary asked a similar question, but Gabriel’s response was much kinder. Since God is not a respecter of persons (Rom. 2:11), we can assume the heart motivations behind their questions were different. Zacharias asked his question in unbelief, a statement of scorn rather than a true inquiry. Mary asked her question to gain information not because she did not believe what the angel said.

When God tells us something in His Word, by His Spirit, or even by an angelic messenger, there is nothing wrong with asking questions. Questioning God is not wrong if you have the right heart attitude. After all, if Mary had not asked Gabriel how this child was going to be conceived, she might have assumed He would come through the natural union between Joseph and her.

All of us have trouble understanding the ways of the Lord from time to time. He told us, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Is. 55:8,9). Today, you need wisdom that only God can give. He doesn’t mind you asking questions, as long as your heart is in the right place.