January in Ohio! We never know what it will bring when it comes to the weather. In some ways, it can be predictable. Snow. Cold. Sleet. Freezing rain. Sounds great, doesn’t it?! But there can be sunshine as well. Days with no snow on the ground. Even a day the temperature may extend into the 40’s. Whatever the weather may be in January, whether it is the first or the thirty-first, it is still winter. We learn in Ohio that we cannot change the weather, but we prepare for it and live with it.
Sounds a bit like life doesn’t it? Many things in life happen that we cannot control. Sometimes there is a rain of disappointment that pours down. Sometimes a sleet of sickness covers the path of our life. Like the weather, it is not because of anything we have done. It’s just life. It just comes down from the mysteries of the sky.
There are also weather conditions that scientists say may result from man’s treatment of the atmosphere. We have created toxic substances that have ascended to the heavens and then those substances descend back upon us and cause sickness and even death. Terms we use pertaining to that are smog, acid rain, and global warming. It has even created a fear in some and they have dedicated their lives in an attempt to clean our sources of power. Much of these attempts are for the concern of future generations.
In comparison to life circumstances, there are sometimes seasons we will experience due to decisions that other people make. Someone close to us may send toxic substances into the air from a decision they have made and the acid rain falls upon even the innocent. The consequences of someone else’s decision can sometimes fall on those that had nothing to do with it. Yes. I am with you! That harsh weather can be difficult to live in. But then I realize I have most definitely made some toxic decisions that have affected others. Jesus Himself said the Father in Heaven “makes the sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends the rain on the just and the unjust.” Sometimes life just isn’t fair or , for the purpose of this devotional , we could say, sometimes life isn’t fair weather. But when we place our trust in the Lord in all weather conditions, He will carry us through and His will in our lives will still come to pass. Let’s look at an example.
Let’s return to the truth of Christmas, the events surrounding the birth of Christ. I know, some of you want to put the busyness and craziness of Christmas behind you. The tree and decorations are put away. The gifts are in the closet, on the shelf, and in the toy box. Let’s get on with a new year! But bear with me as we look at Joseph and Mary and the weather they faced in the season surrounding the birth of Jesus.
Mary was visited by an angel, not just any angel, but Gabriel. As a messenger from God, he revealed to her that she was favored, blessed, and chosen to be the mother of the most important Child ever to be born. She contemplated the challenge, even asked how it would take place, then responded with a trustful faith that she would be available to God and whatever He wanted to do. What a fearful yet glorious moment for her! She may have, even for just a moment, thought this would be an easy season of clear, sunshiny weather because this was God’s plan and God’s Son.
Then it began to get cloudy. Joseph, her fiancee’, noticed she had a baby bump. He wasn’t happy at all. The word began to spread that Mary was with Child and it wasn’t Joseph’s boy. The weather got so bad that Joseph, desiring to be a just man, decided to break off the engagement with Mary. What kind of weather was Mary experiencing now? Where was the sunshine she should be experiencing as she carried the Son of God?
God sends an angel to Joseph and tells him to keep the engagement with Mary because she was carrying the Holy Child. The weather calmed a bit in their lives, but the storms created by others still surrounded them. In fact, I am sure the entire season Mary was with Child was surrounded by harsh, condemning words from others, sneering looks and whispers behind her back.
She was great with Child now. Their home was ready for the birth. The crib was in place. The letters J-E-S-U-S was on the wall above it. Then authorities in government ordered everyone to go to their hometown for a census. This would be a 70-mile trip for Mary who was ready to give birth. A discussion occurred between Joseph and Mary, possibly a heated discussion. But in an effort to obey governmental requests, they set forth on the long journey with Mary, for most of that journey, riding on a stinking, calloused-backed donkey. I am sure more than once Mary questioned, “Where is the sunshiny weather at now?!”
You know the story. They got to Bethlehem and there were so many others at the home coming that there are no more rooms available. Let me remind you that Joseph and Mary were human. Their emotions were in turmoil. The freezing cold atmosphere of uncertainty had set in. They settled for a barn, a stall, a manger. Even though it wasn’t what they expected, it was still a shelter in the time of storm. Undoubtedly, there was a calm in that humble place as the Saviour was born. Joseph, Mary, the shepherds, even the animals present there, all knew that this was the moment that God Himself provided a safe place for all who would experience the storms of life. A Hope was birthed that would provide salvation from sin. The curse of sin would be broken. Healing would come forth from Him for body, soul, and spirit. The magnitude of what was accomplished this moment
is impossible to fully reveal. But remember, this moment was surrounded by various weather conditions in the lives of Joseph and Mary. Despite the conditions, the plan of God came to pass. Let me write that again. Despite the conditions, the plan of God came to pass. Joseph and Mary trusted in God’s words and plan.
Despite the conditions around you, trust in God’s words and His plan. Easier said than done. Joseph and Mary were severely tested, but they persevered through all types of weather. Persevere through the weather around you. Even if you are carrying the vision that God has given you in the rain while riding a donkey, know there is a supernatural shelter He will place over you. Luke 2:6 says, “And so it was, while they were there,
the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.”
* “So it was” with Mary. “So it will be” with you. Trust in Him in every storm and His plan will take place in your life. ** “While they were there” in their place, the will of God was birthed. Stay in your place. Even bad weather will lead you to your place. *** “The days were accomplished.” The time had come. God’s perfect timing is coming for you. Despite the clouds of darkness that surround you, they will not hinder the plan of God for your life. **** “That she should be delivered.” Mary had weathered the storms and the baby she carried within her finally came forth into the world.
Read Romans 8:28-30 and read Jeremiah 29:11-14 and know His will is to be accomplished in your life.
In Jeremiah 29:13 God says, “You shall seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” I believe Joseph and Mary sought God. They were chosen because God knew their hearts were after Him. Yes, they desired God’s will to be done, but their priority was God. Make Jesus your priority in 2015. Seek Him first (Matthew 6:33). Then His will is destined to be accomplished in your life no matter the weather.
Let me close with the words of Paul who operated continually in the will of God and knew what it was like to experience harsh weather conditions while in God’s will. “We are hedged in and pressed on every side, troubled and oppressed in every way, but not cramped or crushed. We suffer embarrassments and are perplexed and unable to find a way out, but not driven to despair. We are pursued, persecuted and hard driven, but not deserted to stand alone. We are struck down to the ground, but never struck out and destroyed” (2nd Corinthians 4:8-9 AMP).
Now read that again with Joseph and Mary in mind. They could have easily written those same words. You and I could have written those same words. Now let’s read the verse immediately preceding those two verses. “We possess the precious treasure, the divine light of the Gospel, in frail human vessels of earth, that the grandeur and exceeding greatness of the power may be shown to be from God and not from ourselves.” The treasure of Christ our Saviour was being carried in the earthen vessel of Mary. She carried the Light of the world, the perfect will of God within her. Despite all the outward conditions around her, God’s perfect plan was birthed.
You carry within you the Light of the Gospel as well. God has a perfect plan for you. That perfect plan, His divine will, despite outward conditions, will be birthed in your life. The fruit of that plan will reveal the greatness of the power of God and bring Him glory.
My prayer for you, and with you, is that God’s perfect will and perfect plan will come to pass in your life in 2015.
Expecting Great Things,