A few weeks ago, I got the privilege of speaking at Smith Mountain Lake Christian Academy’s Upper School Chapel. It just happened to be on the 77th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. What I hoped to share with them from God’s Word is how God can and often interrupts our life. They all agreed that those interruptions are seldom fun, but I wanted to encourage them to see them as a blessing from God. I think they as well as we can all agree that many times that is easier said than done. What follows here is what I got to share with them that morning. I pray that it will encourage you today to trust God, even when it seems difficult.
Truths From the Christmas Story:
- God is the One in Control. The theological term for that is sovereign. To say that God is sovereign is to say that He is in absolute control of all things, at all times. For some people that raises a lot of questions, some doubt, and maybe even some concerns. However, knowing that God is the One who is ultimately in control is meant to give us peace and comfort. In the Christmas story we see that Mary is simply going about her life like she had planned. She was engaged to Joseph, the man of her dreams. When all of the sudden an angel appears to her and says, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you.” Before she could fully process what was happening she is told that her life and world were going to be turned upside down because she is going to conceive and carry a child. Not any child mind you, she was going to carry the Son of God. I don’t know about you, but I think I would have more than a few questions. But what I want us to see here is that God didn’t ask Mary or Joseph’s permission to interrupt their life. He simply told them what was going to happen. How many of you like being told what to do? However, because God is the One in control of things, He doesn’t need our permission to accomplish His will. For some of you that may not sit well with you. That may frustrate you. Hopefully, you can learn to see how to appreciate and even be thankful that God is in control.
- God is more interested in the eternal than the temporary. Some would say that Mary was going to be inconvenienced by this pregnancy. It certainly caused some trouble between her and Joseph. She was going to have to deal with the morning sickness, the weight gain, the stretch marks, and little did she know it, but a 70 mile walk/ride on a donkey at 9 months pregnant was in her future. Of course she was also going to have to see and hear the whispers of people every time she went somewhere, because after all she was pregnant, and her fiancée wasn’t the father. Of course it turned Joseph’s life upside down as well. He had to deal with news that his fiancée was pregnant and it wasn’t his. He had the stress of not only providing for a future wife, but now a child. He was probably getting a lot of advice from his friends on what he should do with his apparently unfaithful wife-to-be. Sometimes life is like this, you get hit with something unexpected. This is where it helps to remember that God is the One in control, and He has a plan and a purpose for everything. We would see the purpose in Luke 2, when the angel appeared to the shepherds and said, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” What Mary and Joseph may have seen as an inconvenience, was actually God working out His plan that was formed from before the foundation of the world. God knew the stress, strain, and struggle that Mary and Joseph were going to go through over the next nine months, but He also knew that Jesus’ birth was going to begin to accomplish His will and His plan for the world. I want you to hear this, God is more interested in your eternal holiness than your temporary happiness. I love how Jeremiah 29:11 ends. We all know the beginning, “For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord.” The end of that verse says, “to give you an expected end.” Everything that God is doing in your life and my life right now is part of Him accomplishing His plan and His will in our lives to bring us to His expected end for us. But how can we learn to appreciate these interruptions in our life?
- Remember that God is good. As Chris Tomlin reminds us, and Christian radio stations remind us over and over and over, God is a good Father. He has your best interest at heart. It doesn’t mean that God won’t allow pain and difficulty to come into your life. It just means that even in the painful times, the inconvenient times of life, God is working something out for His glory and your good.
- Remind yourself that it won’t always be like this. No one likes pain, stress, or trials. But when we trust God, we can know that there is a purpose behind them. I love what the apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:17, “For this light momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” The pain we go through here can’t compare to the glory of being in Jesus’ presence for all eternity.
- Remember God is with you. Just like the angel said to Mary, God has said to each of His children, I am with you. Regardless of what you are going through, even if you feel like you are alone and everyone has abandoned you, God is with you. You may not be strong enough. I’m sure Mary and Joseph wondered how they would make it through this time in their lives. But God gave them the strength and the grace needed each day, and He has promised to do the same for us. For God is faithful and He has said, “My grace is sufficient, for when you are weak, then My strength in revealed.” So let us echo what Mary said to the angel that night, “I am the servant of the Lord, may it be unto me as the Lord has said.”