Christmas is fast approaching. All my decorations are in place and Christmas music is playing around-the-clock. I close down the house each night, turning off lights and starting the dishwasher. It’s my favorite time of day, when I have a few moments with my own thoughts.
I sit in the living room, lost in the tree lights. My eyes drift to the nativity my mom bought me for my first married Christmas eight years ago. I think about Mary, and about how she must have felt when the angel told her she would bear the the Savior of all mankind. Scared, unsure, feeling ill-equipped, she was called to a path that no one else in all of history would ever travel; the very thing that God had ordained for her before the foundations of the earth.
I think about us, here in two thousand twelve. How God has uniquely purposed our lives, too. But I wonder if we expect His plan to be neatly packaged? When we say yes to God, do we assume He’ll go before us and unravel all the knots and iron out the wrinkles?
Mary said yes to God’s plan for her life. A beautiful, miraculous, game-changing plan. The most important course of events that has ever unfolded on the timeline of human history…
…and then she almost lost the man that she’d promised to marry. She dealt with stares and whispers from those who assumed the worst of the unwed pregnant girl. At nine months pregnant she rode a donkey for two days to an obscure town. Surely God would’ve prepared a nice room for them? Of course He did not intend to be born in a stable? No clean sheets. No comfy bed. No place to rest her weary body after labor & delivery.
What did she sign up for? Was this really God’s plan? Did she hear Him correctly?
Do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. (1 Peter 4:12-13 NIV)
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33 NIV)
The testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:3-4 NIV)
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 NIV)
Be encouraged friends. When you’re called far out of your comfort zone and things start to go wrong? That doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve misunderstood God. Life is just plain hard, and you can bet the enemy is working overtime in the lives of God’s most faithful servants. God never promised us an easy life, but He promised freedom, peace, and joy in our obedience to Him.
Is there something specific God has asked you to do? Did you feel like everything started to fall apart after you said yes?
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