When God Messed with Joseph and Mary's Plans
In the various Christmas stories in the Gospels, aside from the obvious story of Christ’s coming to earth, there is a very human drama of a man and a woman. Mary and Joseph simply planned to marry and live a normal life. But God messed with their plans! Some important things stand out to me in this story.
First is that God didn’t ASK Joseph and Mary about His plans for them; He simply told them. There is no Scripture where the angel asks Mary or Joseph if this was okay with them. God didn’t seek their approval. He simply informed them by dreams or an angel. And their lives were forever altered after that! We can all look back and compare notes on what our plans were for our lives and what God’s plans ended up being. God never asks our permission to carry out His plans for us. He is sovereign.
Second, God’s will for Mary and Joseph was not easy. Why didn’t God work it out so Caesar’s taxing was collected either before they were married, or after Jesus was born? He could have arranged that, yet He didn’t. Jesus was born in a manger because there was no room in the inn. Couldn’t He have arranged Jesus’s birth at a less busy time? Why were they forced to flee Bethlehem to Egypt because of King Herod? God knew about it, because He warned them to flee, yet He did not change anything. We could spend hours looking at various parts of the Christmas story—and our lives—asking, Why? Why? Why? We deceive people if we tell that God makes life easy for His children. The truth is that sometimes the best way is the difficult way, and God knows what is best for His kids. He uses trials to refine us and to develop the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. That’s not bad; that’s good.
Finally, when God messed with Mary and Joseph’s plans, He did bless them, despite the difficulties they endured. Joseph and Mary were blessed as Jesus drew in their family (Luke 2:52, 49-51, 40). Think what a joy it must have been to rear Jesus! But the blessings did not stop with Joseph and Mary. Ultimately, Jesus grew up to be a blessing to the whole world. God’s plans for our lives aren’t always easy, but they always lead to our being blessed, and our being a blessing to others—even with trials.
As the Christmas season draws, you may be going through some of the more uncomfortable parts of God’s plans in your life that you do not understand, that you did not sign up for, that you may not like, and that you never gave God permission to do. Yet there they are. What will you do with them? This Christmas, think back to Joseph and Mary, chosen by God to experience misunderstanding and trials…but also to experience the wonderful blessings of being the parents of the greatest person who ever lived, the Savior of the world. They could not have the one without the other. May God grant you the grace to trust His promise to you Romans 8:28.
There are a lot of good things going on in our work here in Grafenwoehr, but we’ll save those for another prayer letter. Many of you have been such an inestimable blessing to us over these many years, both by your regular support, prayers and many words of encouragement. We wanted to return the favor and share something with you this Christmas that would encourage you in your journey of faith.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.