In Luke 2:1-7, Joseph and Mary travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem to take part in a census that Caesar Augustus ordered. Now the trip fromNazareth toBethlehem was no picnic, we’re talking around 90 miles, and one translation says, “Mary was great with child” meaning she’s ready to have this baby! Now let me ask the women who have been pregnant and ready to give birth, would this 90 mile trip, while you’re “great” with child be a little bit of an inconvenience for you? Wouldn’t you absolutely everything to get out of this trip? Yes, of course you would, yet Mary couldn’t.
So often the things in our lives that we see as major inconveniences, the challenges that we would get out of if we could but simply can’t, are the situations that God wants in our lives to fulfill His purposes in us and through us…just like this episode of traveling nearly 100 miles while Mary is “great” with child. God uses Caesar Augustus’ decree to fulfill His promised rise of a special ruler from Bethlehem. God’s providence is seen throughout this episode.
When you find yourself in painful, frustrating situations in life, things that you wouldn’t choose for yourself, but you can’t legitimately get out of, you can be certain that God is working providentially, behind the scenes to fulfill His purposes in and through you.
What situations in your life right now are out of control? What situations in your life are painful, and frustrating, and you’d get out of them if you could, but you can’t? Those are the situations, the events in your life that God is using. The response on our part isn’t to try and figure it out, or to resist necessarily, but to trust that God is working…and I’ve found that when I’m going through painful situations, or frustrating events that I have to tell myself over and over again that God is at work right now working out all situations and events for His good purposes.
As the Apostle Paul tells us “God causes all things work together for good for those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose” and the “all things” certainly include our pain and frustration over situations and events. So consistently tell yourself, “God is at work in this painful situation and I’ll trust Him” because if you don’t keep telling yourself that, the natural human response is to doubt whether God loves you, whether He’s really in control or not, whether you’re saved or not, whether He’s really good or not, or to question if you’re being punished for something. That’s moralism, not the Gospel, so you got to keep telling yourself, “My God is a providential God and He uses all things to bring about His good purposes, and I’m going to trust Him with my pain and frustration.”
God uses circumstances beyond our control to shape our lives for certain purposes. It was good enough for His Son, it’s certainly good enough for us!