Does it ever seem like God’s plans just don’t make sense?
I think we all have times when we find it hard to work out what he’s doing. Circumstances are challenging, or a prayer isn’t answered as we think it should be… It all looks like a bit of a mess and we can be left questioning whether God really has a good plan at all!
If you feel that way about a situation in your own life at the moment, take comfort that it’s nothing new.
Imagine what it was like for Joseph. First, there was the trauma of finding out that his fiancée was pregnant when he knew that the baby was not his. Even after the angel reassured him that the baby was from God and persuaded him to go ahead with his marriage to Mary, it wasn’t the end of his problems. I’m sure not everyone was convinced, and gossip and suspicion must have followed the couple everywhere they went as Mary’s pregnancy began to show more and more.
Then there was the journey to Bethlehem. It must have seemed unfortunate timing for a census; it couldn’t have been an easy journey with a pregnant wife.
And then when they finally arrived the town was busy. Nowhere to stay! Mary ended up giving birth to her child in a place where animals are kept, and laying him to rest in a manger.
It wouldn’t be surprising if the thought had crossed Joseph’s mind at some point that maybe God could have planned this whole thing much better. Joseph had done his best to be obedient. Surely God could have made it all easier and more comfortable!
Yet in the middle of the mess, God was there – literally.
Jesus was born – Immanuel, God with us – right into the middle of a messy and difficult situation.
From our vantage point, several centuries later, we can see something of God’s plan. We can see that God was there working it for good, fulfilling prophecies, sending a Saviour to deal with the mess once and for all.
We may not see that quite so easily in our own situations today, but can we trust that God is there and that, even in the middle of the mess, he knows what he is doing and he is working out a plan that is good?
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which paths to take.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT)
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28 NLT)
“From the squalor of a borrowed stable,
By the Spirit and a virgin’s faith
To the anguish and the shame of scandal
Came the Saviour of the human race.
But the skies were filled with the praise of heaven,
Shepherds listen as the angels tell
Of the gift of God come down to man
At the dawning of Immanuel.”
Join me on Mondays and Wednesdays throughout Advent for more Christmas Hope! Links to all the posts in the series can be found here.