When Bad Things Happen

The young girl lay in her bed and tried to think but thoughts were all jumbled.  Nothing seemed to settle into anything clear.  How would she tell her parents?  They were both so full of love for her; so devoted to God.  What would she say?  Perhaps it really was all a dream; or should she say, a nightmare?  No, it wasn’t a dream. A vision maybe?  Her body felt a trembling.  She turned to her side and lay her hands on her abdomen.  No, it was neither a dream or a nightmare or a vision.  It was real.  She was pregnant; yet she had never been with a man.  How would she tell her parents such a thing; and equally disturbing, how would she tell her fiancé?

Haven’t you and I been in similar situations?  Oh, I don’t mean surprisingly pregnant; I mean, loving and serving God, when suddenly with no warning, the world goes all topsy-turvy.  Everything is going wrong.  You find no words to explain.  Perhaps you can’t explain because you don’t understand yourself why bad things are happening in your once-upon-a-time peaceful world.  Why is God allowing all this, you wonder to yourself, or perhaps your complaints are out loud for all to hear.

Joseph couldn’t sleep.  He never would have dreamed any such thing of Mary.  She came from a devout family, true to God.  Her parents carefully raised their children in His ways.  How heartbroken they would have been to have Mary publicly shamed.  He couldn’t do that to them.  He couldn’t even have done it to Mary.  He had made his decision to break the engagement quietly, hoping that with time idle gossip would subside.  It was in the middle of these thoughts that it happened.  Was it a dream?  A vision?  No, it was a messenger from Almighty God.  What an amazing message indeed. Mary was pregnant by the divine hand of God.

Joseph and Mary were required by law to go to Bethlehem to pay their taxes.  Mary was due anytime now but she pleaded for Joseph to take her with him.  He understood.  Cruel words had been hurled at them both.  “Never mind the words,” Joseph had comforted her,” God’s ways are not our ways but always they are the best ways.”  Mary continually thanked God in her heart for giving her such a man of faith and understanding.  The days had been so difficult, but he was right.  God’s ways are always for our own good, even when the way forward is so unclear and the path difficult to walk.

It happened the very night they arrived in Bethlehem.  So many people were in the town to pay their taxes.  Every inn was booked.  Jospeh could find no room for he and Mary.  Finally, seeing Mary’s very pregnant condition, a kind innkeeper said if they didn’t mind, they could find a place where he kept his animals.  Joseph was grateful.  He piled hay into a sort of bed.  Mary lay there and gave birth to the most wonderful gift God would ever give mankind.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him would not perish, but would have life eternal.”  John 3:16

This is why we have Christmas; the day to celebrate when Jesus Christ was born.  God had Him born in human form.  He had one mission only.  To pay for the sins of mankind by His own death.  It had to be Him to pay the penalty because only He is holy and only holiness could be presented for lasting payment.  It is for anyone for the asking.  There is nothing God will not forgive.  We only need come to Him with a sincere heart.  Seek that forgiveness and you will find it — in Jesus.  There is no other way.  What a wonderful, amazing, peaceful life it is to have Jesus in it.

Merry Christmas and may this New Year be filled with God’s blessings.

The Love Of A King

A few days ago I watched a Christmas special on TV.  There was lots of singing followed by a Christmas message by pastor and author, Dr. David Jeremiah.  He shared a story he had been told many years ago.  He said it impacted him and broadened his understanding of God.  I was intrigued and listened carefully.  This is the story he shared:

Centuries ago there lived a King in a faraway land.  He was a good king, paying attention to the poor, doing what he could to help them.  One day he noticed a peasant girl.  Her clothes were rags.  His heart went out to her and in time he admitted to himself that he loved this peasant girl.  This was a great dilemma for him.

He longed to have the company of this girl he loved but their worlds, though near in proximity, were far apart in every other way.  What could he do?  As the King, he could command the girl be brought to him.  He could demand she marry him.  He could dress her in the finest of clothing and adorn her with expensive jewels.  He could have the girl; he only need speak the word.  But no, he wouldn’t do that because he knew that was not love.    No, he decided firmly, he would not demand anything of her.  He thought and thought.  Finally, it all became clear to him and he knew what he must do to let this peasant girl know how much he truly loved her.

The King gave up his throne.  He left his riches behind.  He became a peasant and lived among the poor, working hard every day just to earn enough for bread and sometimes porridge.  He befriended the peasant girl.  He showed his love for her and in time she gave her love to him.  They married.  Years later the King revealed that it was he who had been king of the land.  She was astonished.  She asked why he had left all the comfort of his palace?  He replied simply, “Because of love, my dear, I became as you, to feel as you, to experience as you do.  I gladly left the glories of my home to show you how much I love you.”

When Dr. Jeremiah finished the telling of this story I, too, was impacted with a fresh wonder at what Almighty God did all those years ago in sending His one and only Son, Jesus.  Jesus left the wonders of Heaven to become one of us, to live as us, to experience as we do.  He gladly left heaven so we would know how much He loves us.

“So the Word became human and made His home among us.  He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness.  And we have seen His glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.”  John 1:14

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in His will not perish but have everlasting life.”  John 3:16

Merry Christmas, everyone.  I hope you know Jesus.  The life He gives us is out of this world!