I transferred this post over from my old blog... It was true then, and it's only proven to be more true as the years have passed since this was first written in 2007! Those who know me well, know that I love Christmas. Being a super aesthetic person, I love all the extra care and attention to details this time of the year—from the Starbucks red cups to the warm glow of the candles and lights. But, it’s really not just the aesthetics of Christmas that I love—every year something new fascinates me about the Christmas story.
Being at the “trying to figure out what’s next” stage of my life makes me think about some of the harder questions of life. How does your will fit into Gods will; how man can/or cannot mess up Gods will; how much does Gods will depend on your effort; how can free will, sin, and a Sovereign God all co-exist? You know, the questions that keep you awake at night—and not just in a theoretical sense like some abstract problem in college math; but some small and yet very real circumstance in your life that makes you grapple with these questions. However, I am coming to the conclusion that perhaps we don’t really have to figure these out—as humans we have a tendency to place far too much weight and importance on the actions and decisions of humans.
So, turning our attention back to the Christmas story…
Picture this, in Luke, we find Mary close to delivering her baby. Joseph comes home suddenly one day and announces that they will be taking a major road trip—the Ruler whom all the Jews hate has decided he wants more taxes… and this “stupid” king is going about gathering these taxes in the most cantankerous way possible. Every man has to go to the city of his ancestry to register.
How’s this for an equation? A wicked king + a lust for power & taxes = Gods tools to accomplish His perfect will.
From a human perspective it would seem that things were not going well. Perhaps they asked in their minds if God had abandoned them? Was this a punishment? Did God have no control over these wicked Kings? Weren’t they about to deliver God’s own son and here they were having to take this “stupid” trip—surely this must have been a surprise to God. They were certainly not planning to take a long journey at this point in the year. However, Joseph and Mary took the long trip, I’m sure in their minds they wondered what God was up to when they couldn’t even find lodging once they had arrived.
We all know the ending of the story-its easy for us to look at the story like it was a fairytale all planned out, portraying Joseph and Mary in our minds as some super-human beings who would never have had a doubt or a care, or even been bothered by the long journey. But, they were humans who chose to obey God, amidst their human doubts and frailty, and proceed in faith—trusting that God would use even this very wicked, selfish King to accomplish His purposes. We all know the outcome of the story, God was simply using Herod to get Mary and Joseph where He wanted them to be—in Bethlehem so that what was prophesied so many years before would be true. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, and once again God used the wickedness of humans to accomplish His perfect will.
So proceed on, trust God—trust that God will even use the wickedness of those around you for His purposes and glory. Most likely you will discover that God has you just where He wants you to be!
A recent movie contains the quote: “plan to be surprised…” and remember that what may be a surprise to you is no surprise to God.