Weekly Devotional

When God’s Plans Don’t Seem to Make Sense

Is there something God is asking you to do that isn't easy?

Written by Sherry Shepherd on 25/12/2023

And Mary said, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.

Luke 1:38

As I gather with family each Christmas, I can't help but think of that first Christmas family gathering as Mary and Joseph cradled their newborn son.

As Mary gazed at her baby boy, I often wondered if she knew the suffering that was ahead of her and those who loved Jesus? What must her thoughts have been as she held God's Son? As she examined Jesus's tiny fingers and toes, did she lovingly count each one and stroke His sweet face? Did she hum to Him as she wrapped Him in His swaddling clothes? Did she know that her son, God's Son, was born to suffer, and would one day endure the cross?

In Matthew 1:21 (ESV) we are told, "The angel told Joseph: "...and she shall bring bring forth a son, and thou shall call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins."

As believers, we often think that when we accept Jesus as our Savior and invite HIm into our lives, He will make everything wonderful. However, the Scriptures tell us something different. John 16:33 (ESV) says, "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world."

We are to expect trials and tribulations. But Jesus doesn't leave us in our pain and afflictions. Instead, He tells us to "take heart" because He has overcome the world. James 1:12 (ESV) tells us, "Blessed is the main who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him."

As long as we are here on earth, we will face trials, difficulties and pain. However, these are temporary because this is not our home. Our home is with Christ in heaven, where we reside with our Lord and Savior for eternity.

Just imagine how difficult it must have been for Mary to carry and give birth to Jesus. First, she faced great shame for being pregnant and not yet married-just think of her trying to explain to others that she was carrying God's child. Then she struggled with the fear that Joseph, her betrothed, would abandon her when she told him she was pregnant. However, Joseph did not leave Mary because God sent an angel to him.

Matthew 1:20 (ESV) tells us that an angel appeared to Joseph saying, "But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit." Each time Mary and Joseph faced a difficulty, God took care of them. But that isn't to say that they didn't have to deal with hardships.

About the time that Mary was due to give birth, a decree went out by Caesar Augustus that all had to return to their hometowns to be counted for a census. Very heavy with a child, Mary traveled on a donkey to Bethlehem. However, when they arrived, they couldn't find any place to stay. They went from inn to inn looking for shelter, but everywhere was occupied due to the travelers in town to be counted.

Finally, an innkeeper offered his stable for the night. Surrounded by animals neighing and cooing, with the smells of the earth, animals, and hay hanging in the air, Jesus was born.

Doesn't it seem like the world's Savior would have been born in a palace? But instead, He came humbly in a stable. The shepherds were the first visitors to see baby Jesus, and they were considered the lowest class of people at the time. From the moment of Jesus's birth, He shows us what is important, which isn't necessarily what is considered important or valued by worldly standards. His birth signifies a reversal of values, from the place He was born to the first visitors He had. Jesus had come for all people.

Today, you, like Mary, may be facing a difficult situation. You may look around at your surroundings or problems and question how you got to where you are. But God has not forgotten you. He sees you and is with you. God asked Mary, the mother of Jesus, to do something incredibly difficult. But, while it wasn't easy, she trusted her Lord. He provided for her and accomplished the birth of His Son, our Savior, through her.

In Luke 2:10-19 (ESV), is says, "And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this. day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!"

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see thing thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us." And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart."

Mary was reflecting on what God had told her. In Luke 1:26-33, when an angel appeared to Mary telling her she had found favor with God and she would bear a son, Jesus, who would reign over the house of Jacob forever, and whose kingdom would never end.

God's plans don't always make sense to us. But you can trust He is at work on your behalf, whatever you are going through. Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV) says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."

When you feel alone, forgotten, forsaken and uncertain about what God is doing in your life, remember Mary and Joseph. They, too, felt confused, yet God used them to bring salvation to the world. If God allowed His Son, Jesus, to be born in the hay and placed in a manger, we must conclude that His ways are not ours. But, while we may not understand them, we can turst them because God reached down to a fallen world, rescued each of us through the grace of His Son, Jesus and restored all who would receive Him to a right relationship with Him.

Or as the hymn, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, says, "Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of this earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace."

Pray this week:

Heavenly Father, please help me remember who You are so that I can rest in trust with You during confusing and difficult times.

Is it difficult to believe in God's goodness when you can't see what He is doing? You can connect with a caring volunteer below who can help answer your questions.

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