Have you ever wondered where the desire to “wonder” comes from? Recently, while visiting South Africa, I was part of a group that visited the famous Kruger National Park. We had a great time watching the hippopotamuses, giraffes, and the elephants, along with many other animals just strolling down the dirt and gravel lanes throughout the park. I thought, “I wondered if they wonder, ‘why are these humans staring at and following me?’” For the most part, they did not seem to care; but occasionally they responded in a way that made me realize they knew I was there and it was time for me to move on!
We believe God is a God of order. He turns chaos into order. In creation He displayed order. The Christmas story is one of those times in the Bible that show God coming down into the affairs of men to show order. It may not make sense in our minds at the time, and we may be clueless to His hand working, but we can always trust His heart. Read these verses to remember:
The Angel Gabriel visits Mary
“And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, (27) To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. (28) And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. (29) And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. (30) And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. (31) And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. (32) He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: (33) And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. (34) Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? (35) And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. (36) And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. (37) For with God nothing shall be impossible. (38) And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.”
Think about this – There are two ways Mary could have responded to this news. She could have refused the plans. She could have slummed into depression and wondered, “Why would God do this….” She could have called for the angel to return for one more conversation. I can imagine her request to be something like this, “Gabriel, whoever you are, please get back down here! I have more questions! There is no way I can explain what you just said to my science teacher, much less my mother!”
The circumstances seem to get worse and if her mindset had been moving this direction of wondering and analyzing, you would have heard other remarks from her like, “Caesar Augustus did what? You want me to ride on the back of a donkey, pregnant with child how far?” The story would have continued to deteriorate, as it often does for those who respond to God and His Words in this way. As the circumstances around her became more difficult, her thoughts would have become more destructive. “Herod is killing all the male children and even a few female children by accident? What in the world is going on? Why do I have to be involved in this?” Just as circumstances invaded the most wonderful story of all time, circumstances also come into our lives, which can cause us to doubt and become confused to the divine plans of God.
Thankfully, this was not Mary’s choice of response. I love verse 38 of our text, “And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.” “Be it unto me according to thy word” is an incredible insight into the mindset of this girl chosen by God for this incredible task. Mary did not allow obstacles, doubt, confusion, or disorder keep her from following God and His Word.
God is a God of order. He does have a plan. We are to trust His presence and His word as we face challenges of living life in His will. It may not all seem to make sense, but God always has a plan. Follow His lead in your life, don’t do it alone! Have the right response to circumstances!