God's Plan Is Good, but Not Always Convenient
“Joseph went from Nazareth, a city in Galilee, to a Judean city called Bethlehem . . . Joseph went there to register with Mary. She had been promised to him in marriage and was pregnant. While they were in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to have her child” (Luke 2:4-6 GW).
God’s plan for your life is good. It’s for your benefit. It’s a loving plan. But it doesn’t mean it’s painless, and it doesn’t mean that it’ll always be convenient.
This was particularly true with Jesus’ birth. The circumstances were hardly convenient for Mary and Joseph. The Bible tells us, “At that time, the Emperor Augustus ordered a census of the Roman Empire . . . So Joseph went from Nazareth, a city in Galilee, to a Judean city called Bethlehem . . . Joseph went there to register with Mary. She had been promised to him in marriage and was pregnant. While they were in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to have her child” (Luke 2:1, 4-6 GW).
In the middle of trying to deal with being future parents of the Son of God, Mary and Joseph hear that Caesar has issued a census, and everybody has to go back to their ancestral town.
Let’s put that in perspective: If tomorrow the government made a rule like that, and every single person had to go back to the town they were from at the same time, it would be chaos. Every plane, train, and automobile would be booked. Every highway would be filled. It would be incredibly frustrating and remarkably inconvenient.
Now try navigating that chaos nine months pregnant. Imagine how inconvenient it would be to travel by donkey to another city when you’re ready to give birth at any moment. Then, when Mary gets to Bethlehem, she has to deliver her own baby without the help of her mom or a midwife, in a barn, surrounded by a bunch of animals.
None of the circumstances around Jesus’ birth were convenient. But they were part of God’s plan. It had been long foretold that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem. The inconveniences to get them there were part of a bigger plan for Joseph and Mary, one that was better than they could have ever dreamed.
Joseph and Mary trusted God through their discomfort and fear. You, too, can trust that a lot of the things God does in your life are because he knows best. He might use some inconveniences to get you where you need to be, but he is always working for your good and working out his purposes in your life.
Talk It Over
What inconveniences has God used to get you where you needed to be?
What character traits do you think God is trying to grow in you when you face obstacles and inconveniences?
Do you know what your purpose is—the reason God put you on this earth? How has he provided for you so that you can pursue his purpose for you?
This devotional © 2019 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.