Okay, you are engaged to be married and you find out that your fiancé is with child – someone else’s. Merry Christmas! That’s the situation Joseph found himself in during this holiday season over 2,000 years ago. I assume he bitterly asked Mary, ‘Why?’
But instead, ‘the other man’ answered him, ‘The child within her has been conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a Son, and you are to name Him Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.’ All of this happened to fulfill the Lord?s message through His prophet.
Can you imagine being nine months pregnant and learning that you must travel, by donkey, to a distant land? We all know that’s what Mary had to do when Caesar Augustus, the Roman Emperor decided that a census needed to be taken. I presume Mary whined, ‘Why?’ (I’m guessing that even the mother of Jesus was allowed to kvetch, given the circumstances.)
God, the Father, did not answer her, “Because I am carefully fulfilling the words spoken by the prophet, Micah, ‘But you, O Bethlehem, are only a small village in Judah. Yet a Ruler of Israel will come from you, One whose origins are from the distant past.'”
Things finally settle down for the newlyweds when Joseph is awakened in the night and told to gather up his bride and baby and flee to Egypt?before dawn! I can just hear Joseph mutter, ‘Why?’, as he carefully packs up the gold, frankincense, and myrrh and the three steal away into the night. I wonder if Joseph ever heard about the many babies who were killed because King Herod was trying to snuff out the life of Jesus?
Then there is the greatest prophecy ever fulfilled when Jesus was crucified on the Cross. ‘Why?’, his disciples cried. ‘Why?’, Mary asks, again. ‘Why?’, even Jesus asks His Father.
All of these events happened to fulfill a greater purpose than anyone could imagine. How could public shame, giving birth in a barn, being uprooted from your home, and innocent deaths be part of God’s plan? Because in each situation the loss was intended to draw people to life – eternal life, first to the Jews, through the fulfilling of Messianic prophecy, and then to the rest of us.
In these days of national crisis, I don’t think there is anything wrong with asking, ‘Why?’ I sincerely doubt we will ever truly understand the reasons, but I believe that the immense loss has already begun to turn our hearts to the giver of life – eternal life. And if that is only part of the answer, then I can trust God with the greater plan.
No matter what the future holds, don’t forget, when the very best our nation has to offer was attacked, the world traded it for something better – unity. God bless America, and your family, this New Year.
Lisa Whelchel Shares the REAL “Facts of life”LisaWhelchelPut Others First
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