I’ve read it hundreds of times, maybe even thousands of times, but yesterday the 2×4 of Truth hit me afresh in the heart. I don’t know if the Lord has big plans to use Mary, the mother of God, to convict and challenge me each Christmas season (since He did it last year, as well), but suffice to say…He did it again, two years in a row.
“And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son…”
Did you catch that?
While they were THERE, the time came for her…
Now listen, if God could bring about a miraculous virgin birth, then I believe He was more than able to control the timing of those contractions.
He knew the time. He knew the journey. He knew the place.
And not just an “Oh, I saw that coming” kind of way. NO. He pre-planned it. Like from the beginning of time, HE KNEW.
700 years before the birth of Christ, Micah prophesies and says in 5:2, “But you, O Bethlehem, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from days of old, from ancient days.”
God had big plans to use that little, unlikely town to fulfill His promise. BIG PLANS. And so because He chose Bethlehem as the birthing spot, He knew it.
But what about Mary???
I could be wrong (it will not be the first or last time), but I don’t believe the angels disclosed to Mary the location of the Savior’s birth. So unless she was familiar with the OT prophecies or unless the Lord notified her in a way that isn’t documented in Scripture, the location of her birthing place may have been a complete surprise to her.
So how did she feel when she was told that she had to load up, pack up, and head to Bethlehem? How did she feel when she knew that a 90 mile journey was ahead of her? How did she feel about leaving the comforts of her home and hittin’ the road on a camel, a donkey, or on her swollen feet (Scripture doesn’t say how she traveled). How did she feel about taking that journey with a full uterus and a bulging belly?
Now clearly, I’m not Mary (NOPE. NOT SAYING THAT.) But can we just imagine for a second? Just ponder for a moment?
Isn’t it possible that Mary would have wanted to be in the cozy confines of her home, near family and friends, when she gave birth? Isn’t it possible that she was already “nesting” in preparation for her Savior-son to be born? Isn’t it entirely possible that she never, ever intended to give birth after a terribly long road trip that would require her to not only pay taxes, but then also give birth where an animal manger was present?
Again, I don’t know how she felt, and I have no clue what she was thinking. But whatever the case, she submitted her will to His and did exactly what she already committed to do in Luke 1:38 when she told the Angel of the Lord, “…I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”
Even in the midst of her not knowing, she trusted that the WORD did.
Again, maybe it wasn’t a struggle for Mary to pack up and head to Bethlehem with a baby in womb (I’ll ask her when I get to heaven), but it’s safe to say that none of her journey was expected or went as she had planned.
A virgin birth?
A son that was HIS SON?
A son that would die for her and the rest of the world?
I scarcely believe ANY of that was “in her plan” when she fell in love with Joseph, the wood-working man born in Bethlehem.
Some of her first words found in Luke 1:34 are, “How will this be?”
So as I’m sitting at my dining room table yesterday morning, reading this passage with fresh eyes and a tender heart, I could feel the Lord stirring in the confines of my soul.
Jessica, I know it wasn’t in your plans to potentially be in the hospital on Christmas Day with a foster son recovering from open-heart surgery, but can you trust me that I KNOW? Can you rest in believing that I have a good and perfect plan that was known before you even breathed your first breath of air? Can you submit to the journey, trusting that I lead as an all-knowing Father? Can you trust that I KNEW even if you didn’t?
Friends, I don’t know what “plans” you have and what “plans” you desire, but could I suggest for you what I’m suggesting for my own heart?
Trust that because He always KNEW, He always has a PLAN.
And if He is a God who KNOWS ALL and has ALL THE PLANS, then we can rest in believing that He can provide ALL WE NEED to deal with ALL THE THINGS that He KNEW but that are new to us.
“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9