“And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her first born son and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths and laid Him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” –Luke 2:6, 7
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” – Jesus (Matthew 7:13, 14)
#5 – God’s ways are not always easy
There is a saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” This came from a philosophy that acknowledged that life was not always easy and often times painful. This challenged a person to dig deep and get through it. In recent times, however, it could be said, “When the going gets tough, people start complaining or blaming or…just quit.” Some would say that “griping” has replaced baseball as the great American pastime. If you want to attract a crowd just start complaining about any topic and you will have an instant group of friends. If Italy is known as “wine” country, the USA could be known as the country of “WHINE”. We have become a people of a “half empty”. When things are not easy for us or don’t go our way we are quick to stand with Darth Vader and call people to the “dark side”.
The Bible tells us that this kind of attitude is unacceptable for the follower of Christ. It robs us of our joy, corrupts our view of our loving Father and stains our testimony to a world in need of hope. The Christmas story (and many stories in Scripture) reveal to us that God’s ways are not always easy. In fact, they are seldom easy. God seems to almost enjoy doing things in unexpected and uncomfortable ways.
Truth: Many of God’s greatest works involved pain.
We tend to forget the moment of the Christmas story mentioned in Luke 2:6…Mary had a baby. I cannot begin to understand the physical challenges that come when giving birth, but I know it involves pain. And I can only imagine that it was only multiplied when it occurs in a stable with dirty farm animals for nurses and filthy rags as your medical supplies. No running water and…no drugs! Yet, on this side of the manger we know that it was God’s perfect time, at the perfect place, and God’s perfect plan to bring the Savior into the world.
God’s ways are not always easy.
You see, contrary to our American attitude, God is more interested in your character than your comfort. He wants you to become all that He created you to be not what is convenient for you to be. Jesus said that the way to life is a narrow path and that it was hard to find and hard to follow. Mary and Joseph chose to follow the narrow path. It was hard. It was inconvenient…uncomfortable…and,yes…painful, but through it all they “delivered” God’s Word to the lost and dying world.
God calls us to do the same and it won’t always be easy.