“Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea . . . “Matthew 2:1
The Bible is filled with story after story of God’s hand in the events of human history, and in particular in individual lives, as He works to fulfill His will. But almost always, the path He chooses is very different than those individuals might have envisioned, and often very difficult as well. Joseph had a destiny in Egypt that would affect his family, the nation of Israel, and the entire world. But God took him through pits and prison on the way. David would be king of Israel – after running for his life through the wilderness. I love the story of Paul. The Lord had a purpose for him, to “carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel,” (Acts 9:15). Jesus told him, “you must testify about me in Rome, (Acts 23:11). And he did indeed make it to Rome to declare the name of Christ Jesus, but he arrived as a prisoner, by way of a storm and a shipwreck and a snake (Acts 27-28).
Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem fulfilled a prophecy made hundreds of years before: “Out of you, Bethlehem Ephrathah . . . will come one for me who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from old, from ancient times” (Micah 5:2). How would that happen when His mother lived in Nazareth, some 100 miles away? God worked through the highest office in the land: “In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. And everyone went to his own town to register,” (Luke 2:1, 3). While it seemed that Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem for Ceasar’s edict, they were really there to fulfill the promise of God – to bring forth the promised one in the place of His prophecied birth.
A life surrendered into the hands of the Lord God Almighty may have twists and surprises, and yes even doubts and struggles, but you can be assured that He is faithful to keep His promise and to fulfill His purpose. Don’t be afraid of these “strange things that are happening to you,” Beloved, (1 Peter 4:12). It’s just God at work working behind the scenes, preparing you for “His good, pleasing, and perfect will” (Romans 12).