God always writes better stories of our lives than you or I possibly can.
While we often wouldn’t choose some of the circumstances we find ourselves in, we can know that God, who sees the big picture, has something good in mind.
Christmas is an invitation and a reminder that God can be trusted to write the story of our lives.
In what way?
Look at Luke 1. We have the story of Mary, a Jewish girl who was engaged to Joseph and probably planning her wedding. Her life was going along in a normal fashion, and she likely had her own wishes and goals and an orderly way in which to approach them.
But, suddenly an angel appeared to her and drastically changed her course. God had a different, better story than what she had planned or expected.
It might not have seemed that way to her, though. After all, her marriage and even her life were suddenly in jeopardy because of her immediate pregnancy.
But, she had great faith in God. Her ultimate response was, “Behold, I am the bondslave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word” (Luke 1: 38, NASB).
God turned the story of a young Jewish woman from an ordinary one to a miraculous one. Instead of being one more mother in Israel, she became the mother to Israel’s (and our) God! Mary’s willingness to put her story in God’s hands made her an integral part of God’s plan for salvation for mankind. That is quite a life story!
How could she have such faith? How can we have such faith? God certainly changed the direction and rewrote the story of many of us this past year!
When we don’t understand what God is doing, we must remember what God has spoken:
- Deuteronomy 31:8 It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.
- Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
- 1 Chronicles 16:34 O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!
- Psalm 34:8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
- Psalm 34:10 The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
- Psalm 84:11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.
- Psalm 145:9 The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.
- Psalm 145:18 The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
- Isaiah 43:2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.
- Jeremiah 29:11 ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.’
- Nahum 1:7 The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him.
- Matthew 6:31-33 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
- Matthew 7:9-11 Which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
- Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
- John 14:1-3 Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
- John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
- Romans 8:32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
- II Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.
- Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
- Hebrews 13:5b He has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’
- James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
- I Peter 5:7b He cares for you.
- I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
(All verses are from the ESV)
The lessons we must learn from this when we see God redirecting our path and writing our stories in ways we didn’t expect—and sometimes don’t even want—is that, instead of reacting in fear, we can remember who God is and what He has promised and respond in submission and faith. As Christians, we are all bondslaves of the Lord like Mary, and we also can trust Him enough to say, “Be it done to me according to Your word.”
Adapted from a Christmas message by Bill Hatcher.