“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” (Luke 2:4).
Joseph and Mary’s plans were disrupted, to say the least. Life became different and difficult for them, including the 7-10 day trip they took from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Not to mention “no room in the inn” once they got there.
Failed business ventures, family harmony turned into hysteria, broken Christmas traditions, and basically the entire year of 2020—these are like road construction projects rerouting you from your intended path.
“Why, Lord? This isn’t supposed to be.”
So, we disagree with God, because we are being detoured from our planned path. But what if our plan is the detour?
What if the rerouted paths we are on right now are God’s journey for our lives? What if the difficulties of 2020 are not potholes to avoid, but the promises of God shaping the purposes he has for us?
We each have our Bethlehem, our change of destination, our different or difficult path. Instead of blaming God for this year’s difficulties or shaming the year 2020 as the worst ever, can I challenge you to find your Bethlehem? To have faith in God’s promises and purposes that are bigger than you?
God perfectly, lovingly directs your paths for your good. He always keeps his promises to be near you, go ahead of you, and stay behind you. The question is, do you trust those promises? Will you follow them?
Jesus knows the way
Jesus’ path became different and difficult, too. Jesus left his own comfort zone of heavenly bliss, and became human and lived in our messy world. God the Father’s journey for Jesus guided him through life experiences to the cross where he suffered injustice.
Jesus saw it as God’s path, even into death, but then beyond death to rising from the dead and living in glory. He is the Savior who now leads and guides you. His Bethlehem is your 2020. Paths filled with the promises of God for those willing to learn and follow.
So enjoy the journey! Celebrate 2020 not as a frustrating detour or failed destination, but as God’s journey for your life.
PRAYER: God, you guide and direct my paths, including this difficult year. Help me to believe more clearly in your journey for my life, and to look for you leading me to Jesus. To his forgiveness, peace and joy. Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: Read Psalm 25:4,5. Look carefully at the pronouns in this verse. Whose “ways” do we seek? Not ours, but the Lord’s. Whose “paths” are there for us to take if we’re willing to learn them? The Lord’s perfect paths where you can’t get lost. Whose “truth” is there to guide our journey in the right direction? Not our limited understanding or flawed opinions, bug God’s truth. And why can we trust and follow all of this? Because “you are God my Savior.” Not just tour guide. Not just bodyguard. You save me, God, because I can’t save myself. You forgive my sins and make me your own child, God. You deliver me. You keep me safe. So my hope is in you, God, all the time.
God’s journey for your life always does this one thing: it leads you to his saving love. The paths may be different or difficult. But like God led Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem where his Son would be born, God leads you always to his Son Jesus. By rerouting you, God is saving you and bringing you closer to his saving love.