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  • Writer's pictureCarolyn Elson

It Doesn’t Always Go the Way We Expect

Has this happened to you? Your plans get changed or disrupted, and life goes a different way than what you had expected? It happened to me. I was so excited to go on my first missions trip. A team and I from church were heading to Brazil. I had my passport and visa, went through training, and was ready. Then my life got disrupted. I found out I was pregnant. Though early in the pregnancy, I decided I would still go. Then some complications with the pregnancy began, and I ended up not going after all. Disappointing to say the least.

If you’ve had an experience like this, what went through your mind? Did you end up resenting the changes to your plans, or did you accept it as God’s will, hoping something better would come out of it? Somebody else went through an upheaval in her life, and this event would change the world forever.

In Luke 1:26-28, we come upon the story of Mary. She is a teenager somewhere between thirteen and fifteen years old. Betrothed or in today’s terms engaged to a man named Joseph, she’s given the greeting of all greetings from an angel no less, in verse 28. It says, And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” She is then told that she will become pregnant and give birth to the Messiah. Wait a minute, pregnant? While in the betrothal period, she and Joseph had not consummated their relationship during this time. This could mess up everything, and if this got out, she could be in for the severest of punishments, stoning. This was scandalous.

Now let’s take a look at Joseph; his side of the story is in Matthew 1:18-25. Joseph, who loved Mary, may not have believed her initially, but he doesn’t follow through as the law allows him to. It says in verse 19, “being a just man he was unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.” Joseph here is protecting her and decides to keep all this secret. Choosing not to create a public scandal by exposing her, he discreetly parts ways with her so she would not end up being stoned to death as God’s law allowed (see Deuteronomy 22:23-24). Can you imagine how disappointed he must have felt from this “disruption?” It seems to mess up their plans for a happy future together.

But wait, we have a happy ending. Picking up in verse 20, we find out this, But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. Joseph decides to marry Mary, realizing what is taking place was God’s will.

So what got rearranged in your life this year? I’m sure some of your plans changed, as did mine. Did we resent all that occurred, or did we accept them, and move on, hoping for something better? God works in mysterious ways, ways we do not understand. What God allows to happen is not to harm or forsake us. It, instead, could bring us even better blessings.

Life’s disruptions can be tough, but let’s wait and see what God can do in the midst of them.

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