34Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” [simple_tooltip content=’26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,

27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.

28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”

29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.

30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.

31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS.

32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.

33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”

35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.

36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren.

37 For with God nothing will be impossible.”

38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.’](Luke 1:26-38)[/simple_tooltip]


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. [simple_tooltip content=’18 And Zacharias said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.”

19 And the angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings.

20 But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.”’](Luke 1:18-20)[/simple_tooltip]

Mary asked a similar question, but Gabriel’s response was much kinder. Since God is not a respecter of persons [simple_tooltip content=’For there is no partiality with God.’](Rom. 2:11)[/simple_tooltip], 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.