Sometimes trusting God isn’t triumphant or glorious. Sometimes trusting God isn’t even a desire. It’s a stubbornness that cries in the middle of the night, but attaches firmly to my faith. Sometimes trusting God isn’t a praise song with the full band on a Sunday morning, but rather it’s a stick-to-it-ness that says I know there is something deeper than my pain and a Power higher than anything I can rationalize, so I’ll give this another shot tomorrow.
We can’t stop storms. We can’t capture the wind or refuse lightning. Claps of thunder still startle our unsuspecting bodies in the middle of the night. But we continue to trust in a bat-shit crazy God who has continued to show up for us, time and time again.
Joseph and his very pregnant wife took a long road trip to pay the IRS. Stargazing hippies were following something like a UFO, hoping for incredible news. When Mary and Joseph finally arrived, there was no food in the deep freeze, and the hotel was at capacity.
Jesus wasn’t born in a cheap motel, or a stranger’s bedroom. The Savior was born to an unwed, pregnant teenage girl in a stable, echoing with the sounds of farm animals. It must have smelled terrible. This was not the triumphant arrival the Jews hoped for. Only three people even noticed the birth of Christ. They showed up later with gold, frankincense and myrhh. I bet Mary and Joseph were hoping for moose and halibut too, but you take what you can get when your baby was just born in a barn.
Sounds pretty chaotic, right?
Christmas is nearly here and if you take a look around your own stable, you may find some chaos, maybe a few asses, too.
I am no longer the boy who intentionally memorizes Scripture, and I haven’t been the President of anything in more than a decade. I work a part-time job, live paycheck-to-paycheck, and being hired by a new church was one of the scariest experiences in the past four years.
If Brennan Manning and Anne Lamott had a baby, the child’s name would be Mark Yaconelli. The Gift of Hard Things is a wonderful reminder of the blessings that can be found in the midst of difficulty.
“I can do all things through Christ Who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13
I don’t think this verse is our promise from God that we can do anything we put our minds to. I think it is actually a verse of comfort from a guy who wrote it while chained in prison, encouraging the rest of us who are stuck in dire circumstances to keep trusting. I think this verse actually drives home the very crux of the Gospel of Grace: we can face all sorts of things and persevere through them, as long as we keep trusting in a faithful, changeless God.
Do you ever read a familiar scripture and see something new?
It happens to me from time to time… And it happened when I read that Herod ordered all the baby boys to be killed. All of them two years old or younger. Little baby boys… Who had just started their lives. Little baby boys who were their daddy’s pride and their mommy’s heart.