Advent – Day 24: In the Middle of God’s Plan (Jill Cubbison)
Hello Friends! I wanted to share something with you. (If you have a minute…) Not sure if many of you know this but I was pregnant with twins between Liam (4) & Audrey (1). They were “monoamniotic” (in one sac) & their umbilical cords got tangled, cut off their oxygen & blood supply & they died when I was 12 weeks along. We were heartbroken. I felt alone, forgotten, I wondered where was God in all this and what’s the point of prayer etc. I’ve since experienced God’s love and comfort and healing, but the sadness still hits me sometimes.
I was getting ready for work a few days ago and just thinking about the crazy story of Mary having her baby in a freakin’ STABLE! Then I started to realize the reality of her experience. We hear, “Jesus was born in a manger and wrapped in swaddling clothes”…beautiful. There were angels singing and Wisemen who brought gifts. He was snuggled up next to a beautiful white, gentle lamb to keep him warm…at least that’s what’s in all the manger scenes. But, I have a feeling that is not how it all went down.
First of all, it all started with someone telling Mary that she had to take a trip to Bethlehem because of this Census….and the only way there was a DONKEY…and she was super pregnant. I imagine she was at the very least not happy and probably nervous. So, after a ridiculously long, and painful DONKEY ride…she gets to Bethlehem. (how would you feel if someone told you that you have to ride for DAYS on a DONKEY at 9 mos pregnant?!) And she’s about to have this baby. The SON OF GOD. The one an Angel appeared to her AND Joseph to tell them that this was legit and this baby will save the world. Surely God has made arrangements for His son’s birth.
No rooms? Excuse me? Guys…really think about this. Remember when you had your babies or when your babies were born? This is not a beautiful “manger”….it is a STABLE where the animals stay. It smells like poop. Your “bed” is sticky hay. Finally when your baby is born…your tiny newborn, minutes old baby….the best place you can put him is a feeding trough…which we call a manger. At least you put some hay down to make it “soft” for him. :o/
Really imagine this experience for Mary.
This is what I feel like God taught me in that moment, while I was getting ready for work. “Don’t you think May felt abandoned and forgotten about?” Like God did not plan this…where was He in this whole birth thing? She’s at the end of this journey to birth the SAVIOR OF THE WORLD and this is how it all ends. This is the climax of the story? A stinky, uncomfortable animal stable with baby Jesus lying in a feeding trough because God didn’t even arrange for them to have a room?
We look for “signs” that God is in something. Mary would have felt good if God had miraculously arranged for there to be ONE last room left…just for them…and she’d say, “See how great my God is? He did this!” But there were no signs. Only pain, discomfort and a feeling of being forsaken.
But this was exactly God’s plan. Jesus had to be born this way…it was God’s plan to save the ENTIRE HUMAN RACE. Jesus was born humbly, in the lowest of low places….and this begins His amazing journey of REALNESS. Mary wasn’t forgotten…God HAD made arrangements for her. She had to trust Him and know that he is GOD.
And then God gently reminded me that, although we see this amazing story of Jesus birth, it may have felt less amazing for Mary…a real woman in labor feeling forgotten. But God was in it the whole time. And in my pain and sorrow…in my deep sadness and heartbreak…in my confusion and anger…God is there. The whole time. Whether behind the scenes or moving obviously for me to see…He is there…and He never left me. Even in the darkest time; He was right beside me. I still don’t understand it all or why we go though things in life. God didn’t promise an “easy” life as a Christian…he promised that he would NEVER LEAVE US OR FORSAKE US. And through our pain and hard times, can come great joy.
Have you felt forgotten, alone, heartbroken, angry, confused? You are not alone…God is here and sent His son as the ultimate sacrifice and gift. Accepting the gift of Jesus is accepting eternal life in Heaven and true FREEDOM. You will experience got’s amazing love and peace…and it’s awesome. Even when we don’t understand, that peace and joy from God shines through and carries us through our hardest times. THIS is the story of Christmas.