In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.
Paying taxes is probably not on our list of favorite things to do. In fact, most of us view the ritual as an unpleasant experience. Add in the burden of taxation from a foreign power, walking 90 miles, and your travel companion is nine months pregnant.
To make matters worse, when you finally arrive at your destination, you can’t find a place to stay (Luke 2:7) and end up sleeping in a stable. Unfortunately, these were the miserable circumstances encountered by Joseph and Mary.
The story of Jesus’ birth should remind all of us that God’s power is not limited by time, space, or location. He can accomplish amazing things anytime, anywhere, or in any circumstance. Just because you’re in a disheartening place in your life does not mean God has abandoned you, or that He is not hearing your prayers.
My last radio job situation was one of those scenarios that never produced the success for which I hoped. For seven years I gave my all trying to make the most of an unpromising situation. I was working with and for good people, but it wasn’t the right fit for me. In my heart of hearts, I knew I was spinning my wheels.
Day after day I prayed for Christ’s help, but it seemed He wasn’t hearing me. He was working mightily in other areas of my life. But on the job front, He wasn’t responding. I asked Him continually to either grow me where I had been planted or put me in a place where I could grow.
Ultimately, I was sent packing to the unemployment line. That’s when God went to work. He supplied my every need and put me in a better situation.
Are you stuck in a discouraging or desperate situation? Have you been praying for God to change your circumstances or for Him to move you to a better place? Don’t lose hope.
I am reminded of these words from Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
Keep praying. God is working behind the scenes putting His plan into place.
Just because you don’t see anything happening does not mean that God is not setting the stage for answering your prayer. Go with what God gives you, even if you end up sleeping in a stable like at Christ’s nativity.
For more on this topic, check out this article: How God Works for Us Behind the Scenes
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 4 (October – December) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.