For many of us, Christmas isn’t the most wonderful time of the year. Loss, tragedy, illness—the difficulties we face can become even more apparent in the “happiness” of the holidays. But when we dig into the Christmas story, we see that many of the main characters were facing extremely difficult circumstances. Yet, amid the darkness and fear came a brilliant light that would be our eternal hope.
God understands our suffering. The Beyond Suffering Bible was created to encourage readers to dig deeper into Scripture to find practical steps and inspiration when facing some of life’s most critical storms.
Mary and Joseph faced some extremely difficult and dangerous situations, but their obedience when they didn’t understand is an example for us as we face circumstances beyond our control. Read more from the Beyond Suffering Bible.
Mary and Joseph: Obedience in Difficult Circumstances
The impending birth of a child can engender all sorts of fears and other complex emotions. Even Jesus’ earthly parents experienced this. Imagine Mary and Joseph finding out that she would become pregnant while they were still engaged (a surefire recipe for slanderous gossip!). It’s hard when others don’t understand and even harder when you don’t fully comprehend all that is happening—or why.
Sometimes fear can cause us to hesitate, but we must remember this: When God orchestrates the events of our lives, understanding is optional, but obedience is always required. God chose Joseph and Mary to be the earthly parents of Jesus, just as he has chosen you to fulfill your responsibilities on the path your life takes, even if you never understand the why—or the how.
Mary and Joseph had to travel—on short notice and under less-than-ideal circumstances—first from Nazareth to Bethlehem, in obedience to the decree of the Roman emperor, and then to Egypt, to protect their child from King Herod. These were unexpected, long, and difficult journeys, but they were part of God’s plan and also fulfilled prophecy. Perhaps you have been uprooted unexpectedly—maybe by a required move to an unfamiliar place in order to secure medical treatment for yourself or to gain access to resources needed to care for someone you love. You don’t know how you can afford this or how you will survive. But God had some special accommodations waiting for Mary and Joseph (a stable that was humble but private and warm), and he had some special newborn welcome gifts for the baby (valuable gold, frankincense, and myrrh that would help with expenses). Those who embrace God’s plan for themselves and their families find that he has already gone ahead of them to provide for their needs.