Most of this year has been very inconvenient, and as Christmas nears, I’m hearing more and more about the inconveniences of social distancing and the like. But upon reflection, I have concluded that God does some really amazing things through and perhaps in spite of inconvenience.
The very first Christmas there was a lot of inconvenience. Consider Mary dealing with the doubters, accusers, and gossips when she was found to be pregnant but not by her betrothed husband Joseph. And what about Joseph? He had to wrestle through uncomfortable and inconvenient thoughts and feelings until God spoke to him through an angel in a dream. Mary’s parents and immediate family were no doubt put upon to deal with the scandalous talk about Mary. Maybe the wedding of Mary to Joseph was moved up, even feeling rushed, we don’t know, but we can speculate. Then, to make a difficult time even less convenient, Quirinius declared a census, but in those days the people had to travel to their ancestral homelands to be counted. Such a journey could not have been easy or pleasant for the very pregnant Mary, nor for Joseph who undoubtedly was concerned that she might even deliver along the way. And, lo and behold, the couple arrives in Bethlehem only to find no proper place to spend the night after all that travel. And, wow, how inconvenient could it have been to deliver a baby in a stable without a midwife. Joseph, a carpenter by trade, and Mary, a first time mother, went through a lot in order for the Christ child to be born and thereby inaugurating the first Christmas.
Shepherds on the night shift trying to stay awake while quite literally counting their sheep were working the dangerous shift, the inconvenient shift. But it was to them that God dispatched angels to celebrate and herald the birth of Christ. What a tremendous thing to see and experience! But don’t think for a minute that it was convenient for God to send His only begotten Son to be born as a vulnerable baby. Becoming the messiah was not convenient at all. Jesus laid aside so much of His power in order to live a mortal life, to be on the run early in life, work hard much of his life helping Joseph in the carpentry trade, and then to begin His public ministry all the while knowing the incredibly inconvenient price He would pay and the suffering He would endure in order that we might have hope, joy, salvation, and experience the fullness of the love of God. Real love looked past inconvenience to you and me. Jesus endured all that for the joy of bringing many sons and daughters to glory.
Hebrews 2:10 New Living Translation says, “God, for whom and through whom everything was made, chose to bring many children into glory. And it was only right that he should make Jesus, through his suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation.”
Hebrews 12:2 from the Berean Study Bible says, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Thus, we can look at inconvenience in a new light. The greatest hope, the highest joy, and the most profound love was borne into this world on the wings of sacrifice and inconvenience. It makes sense that in saving this world without destroying it God would work through and around obstacles, hindrances, challenges, resistance, and difficulty because, as anyone who has ever had a broken bone knows setting things aright is hard and painful. But when the healing is done, a bone properly set will heal stronger than it was before. So it is that when we encounter inconvenience, we should look for the hand of God at work. Pearls of great price come from irritants encountered by the clam and diamonds of scintillating brilliance are metamorphized from carbon placed under the great stress of heat and high pressure. What does God want to do with that which you find bothersome right now? The only limit is the imagination of the Almighty.
God bless you and Merry Christmas!
Contact Pastor Lamb at firstname.lastname@example.org.