As I read the story of the birth of Jesus and of John the Baptist in Matthew chapter 2 and Luke chapter 2 in the Bible, I am struck by one point, something common in both. Did both sets of parents ever wonder why their lot in life was hard, even though they were righteous people? I wonder if Zechariah’s family and Joseph’s family ever questioned why their life was the way it was – one couple had to be childless for so many years and other couple had to be so poor that they could afford only the minimal necessities of life?
God had a plan for both couples and had chosen them to carry out His plan, even though they were unaware of it! Nothing happens without a purpose for those who love Him and nothing is beyond His sovereignty and purview for them. When one is committed to Him, one can be sure that nothing happens, the best or the worst, by chance or without purpose in one’s life.
John the Baptist had to be born before Jesus and until that time Zechariah and Elizabeth had to be barren even though they were righteous and of right standing before God. They wouldn’t have understood the why of it until the right time. I wonder how many times they would have been asked why has God punished you or not answered your prayer. I wonder how many times they themselves would have asked why have we not been blessed and if they doubted the efficacy of their being righteous.
Life was unfair to them and God would seem to be unseeing. Yet they didn’t lose their faith in God nor trade in their righteousness for haphazard living. They held their course and in due time understood the honor for which they had been singled out – to be the parents of a unique child born in urgent times of history and transition.
The same could be said of Joseph and Mary, for they bore the burden of poverty and need. They seemed to be content with their lot and Jesus was born to them as the lowly son of a carpenter. He couldn’t have been born any other way except poor and be loaded with maximum number of disadvantages. It was only then could He identify Himself with all things become so for all men. If His birth and social strata in life would have been otherwise, He would have been at a disadvantage. Since He had this call to be a sacrifice for many, His parents also had to pay the price for it even when they didn’t know it or understand they were God’s choice to be the parents of the Son of God! It is however clear that they did not crib about it nor cease from following God and being righteous.
We often don’t understand or accept our lot in life, because we don’t see our lives in the context of God’s plan for all of humanity. We don’t comprehend the background of the stage in which the drama of our life is being played out. We don’t see the arena in which we live our lives nor do we realize the chain of things in which our lives play their part.
So, we either blame God or become lackadaisical about following Him. We constantly strive to better our lot without understanding His purposes for us in the context of His plans for the whole world. We are worried only about us and our plans and are consumed about upward mobility in society.
We lack the desire to apprehend and understand the big picture. We refuse to acknowledge that we are part of a bigger plan and the importance of the role we play in it as well as our contribution in it. By and large, we live and want to live selfish, individual lives that’s fashioned by minimalistic goals mostly concert tested and concerned about what we eat, what we dress, what we buy, where we live etc. We don’t acknowledge God in our lives and His plans for the world as a whole.
Even when we belong to Him we are more concerned with how to live in the kingdom of this world rather than living with the acceptance that His Kingdom, whose citizens we are, is already here. We shut our eyes and mind to the fact that this world is passing away while eternity is at our doorstep. We are like chickens rooting the soil for juicy worms rather than eagles that lifts its eyes to the heights, unaware the storm is on us.
Question is do I/you have the correct apprehension and clarity of sight. Are we short-sighted and nearsighted or long-sighted and farsighted? Are we being hampered and tempered by faulty and erroneous nearsightedness or enhanced and enlarged by farsightedness?
Whether we like it or not, assess it or not, our lives are the creation of God and our beings exist within the context of His purposes. Things happen to us as per and according to His will and shutting our eyes to it will only cause us to be like the ostrich in the desert that sticks its head in the sands hoping things will go away or change.
On the other hand, if we just accept and acknowledge God and His purposes, we will see clearly to understand that all things work together for our good within the progress of His plans and purposes on earth. We will not be tripped up in our faith nor lose our righteousness, for we will live with foresight. Indeed we will have the right combination to live as people of this era and as people with eternal destinies, as people who possess perfect 20/20 vision!