If you are looking for a warm, light-hearted post to inspire your next praise and worship experience, then this post is not for you.
If you want someone to relate to the moments when you’d rather shake your fist at God than thank Him for the mess He left you in, then you have just found a friend.
Have you ever…
…heard a diagnosis that left you fearful for your very life;
…endured undeserved public shame, ridicule, or the loss of your reputation;
…fought for a precious relationship;
…felt misunderstood and alone;
…faced a sudden uncertainty about a future you were once so sure of?
A man who endures trials is blessed, because when he passes the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him (James 1:12 HCSB).
Just like you, I’ve endured my share of trials in life, but I certainly didn’t feel blessed. I felt abandoned and afraid. In the Bible, the most blessed woman was Mary, the very mother of God’s only Son, and my circumstances were nothing as wondrous as that.
The Trials of Blessings
At a very tender age, Mary was planning her wedding to a man she loved. Like most young ladies at that time, she probably couldn’t wait to make a home for her husband and start a family. Her whole future was ahead of her, and she was at one of the most exciting and promising seasons of her life. Then she finds out that she is the chosen mother to the Lord and Savior of the World. How could anyone possibly be more blessed than Mary?
There are several places in the Gospels that say Mary “pondered” her situation. As I learn more about the time and culture Mary lived in, I occasionally ponder Mary’s circumstances as well, and I wonder what it might have really been like to receive this news.
At that time…
…the diagnosis of pregnancy outside the marriage was punished by stoning to death;
…people talk when a young, unwed girl suddenly gets a baby bump. It was true then and it’s true now;
…her beloved fiancee’ planned to leave her;
…even Joseph didn’t believe her;
…wedding plans came to a screeching halt and Mary left town.
The most blessed woman in the Bible received a life-threatening diagnosis, faced public scrutiny as she fought for the man she loved, with no one to back her up while trying to figure to what to do next.
I wonder if Mary always felt blessed.
I declare the end from the beginning,
and from long ago what is not yet done,
saying: My plan will take place,
and I will do all My will
(Isaiah 46:10 HCSB)
Do you think Mary felt blessed to be the mother of God’s only Son? Victoria Grace isn’t so sure.
The Bigger Picture
I heard a sermon on this verse once that explained Isaiah 46:10 this way: Imagine that you carefully planned a beautiful picture drawn in one, continuous line. You created it deliberately and lovingly so that the final piece would be the greatest creation ever. Now imagine that you sent someone a screenshot of just one corner of the line. They would not know what it was, and they might think you just drew a haphazard mess. But you know where the line began, where it ends, and how each piece fits to in the most incredible creation. And you know that it’s absolutely perfect.
This is how God sees time. You are living day by day, but He already knows the beginning from the end, and He knows that His design is glorious.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us (Romans 8:18 HCSB).
The Bible doesn’t tell us if Mary struggled with feelings of fear or abandonment, but we do know that she was just as human as the rest of us. And just like us, Mary could not have possibly comprehended her role in the glorious picture of all eternity.
Leaning on God to Trust in Your Blessing
Hebrews 11, sometimes referred to as “The Hall of Faith”, tells us about Old Testament Biblical heroes, including Noah, Abraham, and Moses, who trusted in God despite their circumstances. In fact, every one of them spent their entire life working towards a mission that they never saw completed. Only after their deaths was their glorious piece of God’s perfect created revealed. Hebrews 11 says that trusting in God’s plan, even though you may never see the bigger picture, is the very definition of faith.
I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world (John 16:33 HCSB).
In the New Covenant, we have an incredible assurance that our favorite Old Covenant heroes did without. Even though we can’t see how our part fits in, We know what the final picture looks like.
Sounds beautiful, doesn’t it? But to be candid, I know this is the last thing I want to hear when I feel afraid and abandoned by God. I can’t seem to muster “Hall of Faith” strength in the middle of my mess; I just want the loneliness and fear to stop.
But here’s the thing: Our God is so good, that He helps us, even when we just want to yell at Him. We can bring our fear and loneliness to Him, even when we feel like He’s the one who caused it. If you ask Him, the Creator will help you trust in His Creation.
Even in the midst of your apparent haphazard mess, you are blessed to be a part of His glorious picture.
Join the Conversation
How has God helped you trust Him even when you didn’t feel like it? Comment below.
We know it’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but Christmas is coming. If you are looking for a devotional book for this Christmas season, check out Heather’s newest devotional book, Christmas is Coming. In it, she helps readers prepare their hearts for the holiday. Each devotional offers a little bit of Jesus to help keep you centered this holiday season. Now available for pre-order on Amazon.