find your way around
It’s boastful to make our own plans without guidance from our Heavenly Father. It’s like saying we trust you, but not enough to submit our plans to you. As we get ready to embark on a new year, let’s try something different. Instead of getting frustrated with plans that God didn’t tell us to do, we are going to seek Him first. We are committing to looking at God’s bigger picture instead of our own limited plans.
God’s promises will come to pass. And yet, there are times when He withholds the full story. God knows how much information we can handle. If he told us all of the challenges we’d have to weather to get to the promise, many of us would turn around. That’s why God releases instructions piece by piece. It’s our responsibility to steward each piece wisely. We must make the best of each situation we encounter by looking to God for strength and wisdom. When the current circumstances don’t look like the promise, keep going, keep trusting, keep believing.
When Mary finds out that she is destined to give birth by miraculous means, she puts herself in an environment of preparation. Mary knew from the angel that Elizabeth was further along in her pregnancy and sought her out. Both of them were first-time mothers, with divine revelations on who their children would be. Mary positioned herself in a place with someone further along than she was. And once she arrived, they both recognized the gift of what they were carrying. Those three months were full of preparation for not only John the Baptist’s arrival but Jesus Christ’s arrival. Because at that time, Mary had no idea that she would be delivering in a different town, in a cave, and placing her newborn in a manger, but walking alongside Elizabeth prepared her for the season ahead.
The voice of the prophet is designed to raise awareness of what is happening or what is to come. In this instance, clearing the way is in preparation. In the same way that you can’t walk through the forest without clearing a path, God cannot enter into a nation or believer’s heart without preparation. When highways are built, there’s a leveling of the earth that takes place, otherwise, our cars are in for a bumpy ride. We, too, must make adjustments to our lives in order for the Lord to enter. As children of God, we are called to soften our hearts, lower our pride, and align our actions with God’s will. We are called to actively participate in the process, not spectate.
When the tables turn, what do you have a tendency to do; intact revenge or extend forgiveness? It’s in our human nature to seek revenge. We see the evil things done to us and want to return the favor. It takes a spiritually mature person to see the hand of God in the middle of hard seasons and withhold the urge for payback. Yet Joseph demonstrates that whenever those opportunities present themself, we should seek to demonstrate compassion, not cruelty.
God takes us through seasons of refining that make absolutely no sense to us until time passes. As we’re faced with new challenges, we are able to demonstrate how much God has done in and through our lives. We walk through new trials with the wisdom of previous seasons. When you look back do you see how far God has brought you? Can you see how differently you navigate your current challenges in comparison to 1 year ago? or 5 years ago? or even 10 years ago? That’s growth! That’s maturity! If you honestly cannot see any changes, that’s an opportunity to get in God’s presence to illuminate why your maturity has stagnated because God calls for us to be refined (matured) into His image.