Hope in the Dark - Messages in Your Misfortune
God’s purposes are often achieved through our misfortune but it’s not immediately apparent to us.
Here’s a young teenager having to bear the responsibility of a pregnancy. A big Roman Empire that forces a young couple to make a trip they don’t want to make. Here’s baby Jesus at the very beginning, shut out. Doors barred. The Manger. Out in the cold. No room. So much misfortune. Jesus was immersed in misfortune. There was some initial acceptance of this baby boy. But it didn’t last long.
This is one of the main themes of nearly every Christmas passage. Jesus was not born into a comfortable home. He was born into a feed trough, a manger. He was not born into a middle class, wealthy family. He was born into a poor family. He was not born surrounded by heads of state. He was surrounded by shepherds, who were at the bottom of the social totem pole. He was born to a pregnant, unwed teenage peasant girl who would, because she got pregnant before she was married – she would have been stigmatized the rest of her life (and she was) in that culture and that time, and so would her Son have been.
Is there a message in our misfortune? There is. God’s purposes are often achieved through our misfortune but it’s not immediately apparent to us. It’s so easy to miss the message and focus on the misfortune.
What was Mary's message in her misfortune? I imagine it went something like this: "Letting go of what I wanted, so God could do his work in me and through me." She sang her great Magnificat, beginning with the words, “My soul praises the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant” (Luke 1:46–48a). And toward the end of her song she said of her son: “He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble” (vv. 51–52). Joseph and Mary capsulized the mystery of grace—the King does not always come to the proud and powerful but to the poor and powerless.
Maybe this Christmas, by letting go of what you wanted, God can now give you what you've always needed - Hope in the Dark.