“Jospeh went up… from the town of Nazereth… to Bethlehem… to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child…” (from Luke 2:4-5)
Have you ever noticed that life hardly ever turns out like you plan it? We all understand that we have good days and bad days – but I’m talking about life from the “big picture.” It sure seems like “our best laid plans” hardly ever produce anything resembling what we had hoped or dreamed. It tends to make you a little cynical about life… and maybe a bit bitter (okay… perhaps a lot!).
This is even more comfounding when you are a believer in Christ. After all, God is supposed to have your back (and your front, and your sides, and your above and beneath…) so why wouldn’t life be all sunshine and lollipops. The Almighty ought to be pretty good at making your life work out wonderfully.
Just the other day, I was talking with a good friend about her frustration (anger!?) with the fact that so few of the things she had asked God to do had ever come about. After all, God is supposed to love us, and hear us, and answer our prayers (all with “yes!”)… and if He doesn’t… well, what’s the point of praying and trusting in Him. It’s all kinda pointless if God doesn’t seem to really care…
This brings us to today’s lesson from the Christmas story… Joseph and Mary.
Talk about “messed up.” One moment life is good… you’re “betrothed” (i.e. a binding commitment/pledge to be married), you allow yourself to dream about family and kids and all the good things that are associated with those things… And then, in a single moment, everything comes crashing down. Circumstances descend to devestate your whole life…
“Pregnant? Really? How can this be… because we haven’t had… OH… God did it. REALLY!?”
Life interrupted. Big time.
But this is a vital point of the Christmas story. It seems God doesn’t ask permission to intervene in our lives… or to interrupt our hopes and dreams. HE has a plan. He has a purpose. And we get to be a part of what HE wants to do. And as His children, He has every right to do what He wants to do – even if we don’t understand what He is doing. Even if we don’t (necessarily) like what He is doing.
It never was (and it never will be!) what we want that matters – it’s always about what He wants. And actually (though we tend to forget it) that is what we signed up for! God, to be King over our lives. To rule as He sees fit. To take us wherever He wants us to go – to do what He wants us to do. And to face things we would never (in a million years) choose to go through.
It’s why He’s God. And we’re not.
And it’s so easy to forget that fact. Or to try and make God our servant in this life.
Joseph and Mary had choices to make about circumstances that surely put them both in a terrible light (and surely ruined their good name within their culture).
Scripture tells us that they chose to let God be God – and to let Him be responsible for the outcome.
And they discovered, as we should…. the little (or big) interruptions of our lives are always steeped in divine purpose.