Is it possible that the Lord is with you and you do not notice? Mary certainly seemed to be quite unaware, because she could not make a lot of sense of angel Gabriel’s greeting when he addressed her with the words “favored woman”, and “The Lord is with you!”
We become self-aware for the first time as toddlers. Lewis and Brooks-Gun conducted some interesting research in 1979 when they applied a red dot to an infant’s nose and then held the child up to a mirror. Children who recognized themselves in the mirror would reach for their own noses rather than the reflection in the mirror, indicating that they had at least some self-awareness. About 25 percent of the infants between 15 and 18 months reached for their own noses while about 70 percent of those between 21 and 24 months did so.
On that note, it would be interesting to see how spiritual self-awareness develops. There is certainly no age-range in reference to first awareness of who we are in the eyes of God. Becoming conscious of God, this can happen at any age. We find God sometimes in the most peculiar circumstances. Yet God is aware of us all the time, even before we were conceived. Psalm 139 describes it in much detail:
“13You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
16 You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.”
The Psalmist very poetically describes spiritual self-awareness, and I pray that every human being would wake up to this reality: How much God is in love with you and me! Psychology distinguishes between private awareness (who am I in my own eyes) and public awareness (who am I in the public eye). Over time people can become obsessed with their self-image. Wouldn’t it be liberating to be pulled out of this haunting obsession? How free we could become as we begin to understand how precious we are in the eyes of God.
All of this takes time to digest, and Mary is known to ponder about these things. When shepherds rush to the scene in Bethlehem where Jesus was born, and they share with Mary and Joseph what had transpired through the angels, it states in the second chapter of Luke’s gospel (Luke 2:19):
“But Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.”
When we have a God-moment we want to cherish it because God still speaks today. He speaks to you and me. All we need to do is take notice and listen.