Have you ever found yourself in a situation where there is just no room for you? It could be on a train, a plane, bus, a hotel, or an excursion. You’ve travelled some distance, thought you’d planned everything as best you could, but it just hadn’t worked out. I’m guessing that Mary and Joseph thought things would work out just fine for them on their journey to Bethlehem for the census. OK, it wasn’t a great idea for Mary to travel the 90 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem while close to giving birth. That’s a four-day journey travelling eight hours a day. What was God thinking?
Then, when they do arrive, it’s evening, and there’s no room for them in the main house. The best available is a night among the animals, and they do smell – let’s not pretend otherwise. If I was Joseph, I’d be arguing with God, “This is Your Son. Surely You could have found somewhere better for us. Or don’t You care? Where’s the pomp and splendour to herald the birth of the King of kings. If I was Joseph, I’d be wanting to put a 1-star review on social media and get the press involved.
How many of you reading today’s ‘Seed’ know from personal experience that God does things His way. We would do so much of what has happened in our lives quite differently – if we were God. Our lives would be a long all-inclusive Caribbean cruise from the moment we are saved until we go to be with Him for all eternity. But as you look back, I hope you can discern the guiding and loving hand of God in your life. Your experiences have taught you so much and blessed you in more ways than you can recall. I admit that some things don’t make sense just now, but I remind myself of Deuteronomy 29:29a, ‘The deep things belong to the Lord our God.’ I’ll have to leave those with Him for now. They are in safe hands.
What about Mary and Joseph? Amongst the confusion, mess, and stink of the stable, God sent shepherds to greet the long-awaited King of the Jews. They were sent by an angelic host who lit up the night sky. Then, sometime later, wise men from the East came, bearing gifts for the King (including gold). I think I could have put up with quite a bit of discomfort to experience those two events. Don’t you?
So, as we approach this Christmas, how are things working out for you? Did you plan 2022, but then found it went quite differently from what you had hoped? Does it feel a bit ‘out of control’? Maybe that’s how Mary and Joseph felt. Well, let me encourage you that God knows about everything that’s going on in your life, and He cares deeply. You may not have the answers you seek yet, or even this side of eternity, but one day you will. I have a strong feeling that, when you do, you’ll be saying to yourself, “Well, I never thought that could turn out for good. But it did.” Join with me in thanking God that He’s in charge and not us.
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