Have you ever been in a spot you didn’t want to be? Whether it was geographically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally? I know I have been for each of the above more than once. I was in another state when a friend got married, another time a friend was having a baby, and there was the time I didn’t get to be home for a holiday. I’ve not been able to get a thought out of my mind, and because of that, dwelled on it until that thought ruined everything else around me. I’ve left God at home, in between the dusty covers of my Bible. I’ve cried everyday for over a month and not known what to do with myself. Yes, I’ve been in many spots I didn’t want to be.
Kinda like Mary and Joseph, when they found themselves in Bethlehem. It was the last place they wanted to be – far from home, far from the people they loved (even if the people they loved were a bit, um, “miffed” at them at the moment), far from the town they knew and loved. And here they were, pregnant, surrounded by masses of people just as uncomfortable and irritable as they were, not exactly in slipping-through-crowds-with-ease shape, and alone. Oh yeah, AND GIVING BIRTH!!!!!
And yet, for some crazy reason, that’s exactly where God wanted them. I think He wanted them there because it makes for a more dramatic story (maybe I’m giving God too many human characteristics, but I honestly think He loves a good story with fun twists and turns). Somehow, Mary and Joseph being in Bethlehem not only fulfilled prophecy, but it also brought God more glory than if Jesus had been born quietly, in the corner of the house Mary grew up in, with everyone looking the other way, and the neighbors muttering things about loose women and stoning. Plus, if they hadn’t been in Bethlehem, who knows whether or not they could’ve ever escaped to Egypt, or if the wisemen would have found them, and those poor shepherds never would have been able to see the Christ.
I don’t know what it is about uncomfortable moments and uncomfortable places, but sometimes, (only SOMETIMES mind you), God purposefully puts us there. Sometimes our bad choices put us in places we don’t want to be. But sometimes God puts us there. Whether it’s to bring Him glory, or to teach us a lesson, or to shake us up so we pay Him more attention, or He’s simply using us to reach other people, I think He alone (and maybe you) know.
No matter what the reason is though, when you find yourself in those places – take notice! God’s probably working in your life! He has lessons to teach you, if you’re willing to learn. He has His glory to show through you, if you’re willing. He has blessings to wash you with, if you’re willing and attentive. And, the highest honor of all, He has other people to reach through you! IF you’re willing to notice (and embrace) the uncomfortable, unwanted spots.
So, this holiday season, notice when you are in an uncomfortable spot. Notice when you seem to be in Bethlehem and an animal-infested stable. And then ask God, “So, what did You have in mind?”