Wednesday, December 03, 2008

What Time Is It?

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) and everyone went to his own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her first-born, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Luke 2:1-7
Is this a well-known passage to you? Perhaps you grew up hearing it read every year right about now? And maybe it's so familiar that you tend to breeze through it without giving much thought.
That had become my habit. You know, Oh, I know how this story goes. (Brain shuts off.)
One of the many wonderful things my mentor has taught me to do is to read through scripture slowly and meditate on it - allowing time for God to speak. And do you know what happened when I did that with this passage from Luke?

I found myself thinking God was crazy!

As I worked my way through these verses, one of them jumped out at me and I couldn't let go of it.
While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born.
Luke 2:6
Does that statement strike anyone else as odd?

As I thought about it, considering the fact that God is supposed to be in control of everything, I wondered why He didn't work out the timing of Jesus' birth better. Why didn't He arrange events so that when the time came for the baby to be born, Mary would have been home in a comfortable place - where her mother could have been around to help her out? God knew when she was going to be taking this journey with Joseph. Why didn't He adjust the time when He caused her to become pregnant, so she wouldn't have been on a long journey when she was about to deliver?
I kept going over and over those thoughts in my head. God, why didn't You work out the timing better???

But do you know what? God worked the timing and details out perfectly. Jesus was born in Bethlehem to fulfill the prophecies about Him, and God knew exactly what He was doing!

Having convinced me that God - in fact - did know what He was doing, His Spirit went on to show me something about myself. I realized there are so many times in my life when the timing just doesn't seem "right" to me, and I question God's actions. I have in mind the way things should go, and if God's plan isn't in line with mine, I tend to doubt Him.

Know what I mean?

Yet when I remember Who God is, and remind myself of all He has done, I know I can trust Him to work out the details and the timing perfectly.

I am looking forward to sharing this message with a wonderful group of women at an Advent Breakfast at Cornerstone Alliance Church in Marion, Ohio this coming Saturday. Registration has "officially" closed, but if you're going to be in the neighborhood, I bet they'd welcome you. Give them a call. I'd love to see you there!

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Cindy said...

I think God is trying to tell me something! I am doing Priscilla Shirer's Bible study, "Discerning the Voice of God" and my homework for today was about God's timing. I love how He keeps putting what He wants us to know in front of us.

greta said...

This has encouraged me so much!

luvmy4sons said...

His timing IS perfect whether we think so or not. There have been times when I have thought to myself that something wasn't good the way it worked out only later to see why the timing of what God did was BETTER...but I couldn't see it till long after...and sometimes I don't get to see His wisdom at work at all. But I trust. Great post! As an L&D nurse all I could think was what was involved with those few little words...time for the baby to be born...LABOR...Aaawh Mary...what she endured! And what she was blessed with!

Rachel - Heart Assessment said...

Okay, so I just smiled so big when I read this. When we were little, my Mom had us memorize Luke 2 together as a family. Thanks for sharing this. Now, I want to hear my children quote this! It's just beautiful!

Chatty Kelly said...

I clearly have spent too much time with my kids watching High School Musical. As soon as I saw "What Time is it?" I began singing "Summer time, it's our vacation!"

Refocus...listen...learn. I think being a mom makes it harder to study the bible!!! LOL! But we understand the grace of our heavenly father SO much more because of our own kids.

Leah said...

What wonderful thoughts!! I am definitely guilty of rushing through those familiar Bible stories and not taking time to really ponder all the nuances of each.

Thanks for reminding me to do that. I know those ladies in Marion will be very blessed!!


Edie said...

His timing is so perfect and this is a great reminder. I have to tell you though, as I read this scripture I'm thinking, "Why didn't God have them living in Bethlehem already??" LOL. I know there is a reason.

I also think about how they were pledged to be married. I understand the cultural differences but even still, Mary would still have been "the talk of the town". I can't help but wonder about what she endured emotionally in her obedience.

kreed said...

I always think about how miserable it must have been to be on a donkey travelling when the "time came"! Yikes!

Cristina said...

Well said. This is a wonderful message! One that we all learn over and over....
Blessings on Saturday!

Becoming Me said...

As always you are such an encourager. Thank you for this.

Stacey said...

What wonderful thoughts and relections you have shared with us again! God uses you so often to "spur one another on." Thanks!

Stacey said...

Um, that's "reflections"....not talking about the election :) My fingers sometimes can't comprehend what my brain is thinking. *grin*

My ADHD Me said...

This was a great post.
I love Bible hearing stories over and over again and seeing them in different lights.

Amanda said...

You are right, I had just breezed through reading it! Thanks for making me stop and reflect on His Word... and great lesson for me today and everyday!

Have a wonderful time at the Church... those women are very lucky!

God bless-

On Purpose said...

Praying for you Karen as you take a beautiful message from God to the women at Cornerstone Alliance Church. For its not for us to understand...right...then the whole faith thing would be void!

KarenW said...

Thanks for the reminder. I don't know how many times I've said to myself how nice and easy it would have been if John had applied with the State Police a couple of months earlier. We wouldn't have had this horribly long delay. God's timing IS perfect but it's hard to see on this end of things.

Staceystace said...

It is easy to breeze through this...thanks for the challenge!

Anonymous said...

It is so true that when you really meditate on one section so much can be there for us to discover. His timing is perfect although it can be so difficult to see at times.

Stonefox (otherwise known as Heidi) said...

Karen, this was a breath of divine essence to my spirit this morning. This week has been very hard for me and I don't know what God is up looks like either He has lost His mind or He aims to make me loose mine :) But this post so encouraged me. I am certainly not the first to have strange timings and events at His orchastration, and I should consider myself blessed to be in such company.