Certainty for the Present

Image via Pinterest…of course!

With Christmas in just two days, we’re squeezing in as many guest posts as possible.  Today, we have the privilege of hearing from Meg’s friend Rebekah Miller.  I had the privilege of meeting Rebekah this fall and she is just lovely!  She’s the only person I’ve ever known to write me a thank you note following a tailgate—she’s classy like that!  We’re so excited to welcome her here and I hope you enjoy her post as much as I do!  Here’s a little sneak peek: “Joseph and Mary both chose to dwell in the certainty of who God is, rather than the uncertain circumstances of their lives.”  Don’t you love that?!?  Read on for more fabulous nuggets!  Here’s Rebekah!! 

I am honored to be writing here at Meg’s request.  I met Meg during our first year of law school at the University of Miami (FL, not Ohio!), and I am absolutely convinced God directed me to UM for my first year to specifically meet her.  I love her – a true kindred spirit (no, I will never outgrow Anne of Green Gables).  And I was fortunate to meet Elizabeth at a UVA tailgate that she hosted beautifully and welcomed me most graciously.

During this last exam period my mind kept jumping ahead to worrying about after graduation— job, money, housing….you know how your mind just gets going and won’t quit?  I had worked for several years before law school, so I have been looking forward to getting back to the “rest of my life.”  But the area of law I have chosen is very fluid, and even though the past semester was filled with keeping up with contacts and inquiring about possible positions, it is increasingly clear that I am just not going to know about jobs for awhile.  And definitely not according to the timeline I had in my mind (big surprise).  I am not even sure where I am taking the bar.  Needless to say, this type A personality is living with much uncertainty as she tries to plan ahead.

But as I began to reflect on the Christmas story this season (credit to Pastor Warrick at WCC), I noticed how much uncertainty Mary and Joseph faced and how God provided certainty for the present.  He didn’t lay out each step of His master plan, but He demonstrated the certainty of Himself, which resulted in encouragement and strength to carry on.  Joseph and Mary both chose to dwell in the certainty of who God is, rather than the uncertain circumstances of their lives. 

Mary was a young girl, engaged to be married who suddenly became pregnant, but remained a virgin.  Her future was the epitome of uncertainty.  The thoughts that ran through her mind must have included: “What is going to happen to me?” “No one is going to believe I am a virgin and pregnant.” “Will Joseph still marry me?” “If not, what do I do?”  So many questions, and yet, Mary sang to the Lord, “My soul exalts the Lord and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.” Luke 1: 46-47.  God sent His angel to Mary whose presence filled her soul and she knew that God was in control.  She didn’t need to know the answer to any of her million questions because she believed that “nothing will be impossible with God” and took action accordingly.  Luke 1: 37-38.

Sometimes we get so lost in trying to find answers to our specific questions that we miss HIM.  We miss His presence, His peace, and His view.  Had Mary chosen to dwell on her own perspective, she may have run away, fearing punishment for being pregnant before being married.  Or abandoned the baby altogether.  Instead, she got a glimpse of God’s perspective and rejoiced: “For the Mighty One has done great things for me; and holy is His name.  And His mercy is upon generation after generation… .” Luke 1:49-50. 

Joseph too faced stark uncertainty.  He was supposed to marry this young virgin, and presumably, build a life together.  It definitely wasn’t supposed to begin with her giving birth.  He also must have had many questions: “What will people think of me?” “How can I marry her when she is pregnant with another man’s baby?”  “What will my family say?”  “My rabbi?” “My friends?”  So many doubts, but Joseph’s perspective changed when God showed him the divine view.  God gave him a sneak peak to the end goal — “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.  She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”  Matt. 1: 20-21.   Joseph chose to trust in God and took Mary as his wife, in spite of the many uncertain details and inevitable scorn from the community.  God revealed His purpose to Joseph, and Joseph responded with a sure, certain step towards God.  May I do the same!

All of us struggle with uncertainty.  Sometimes I used to think, “if only I had that job” or “if only I was married already,” then I may have more certainty in my life (i.e. I could choose a state bar based on my husband’s job).  But no.  At every stage of life there will be uncertainty because God does not drop down google maps of our lives that show every turn we will take (although, I so wish He would at times!).  Instead, the God of the universe takes time to show Himself to us.  He proves His certainty each day through His willingness to be present with us.  Such an amazing love!

We may not have angels appear to us as Joseph and Mary did, but we know the end of the story!  What God promised to Mary and Joseph actually happened!  A baby was born who fulfilled the promise in Isaiah 9:6 and truly lived to die for our sins.  What a God!  We have the assurance that the baby born to Mary was Jesus, the Messiah, the Savior of the world.  He came, so that we could be certain of an eternity with God.  Jesus did come to save His people—US!  That is our certainty for the present and the future!  

Like Mary and Joseph, we have to choose to view our lives from God’s viewpoint, instead of focusing on the uncertain “what if’s,” “why’s,” and “if only’s.”  God’s love for us is certain in the midst of any uncertainty we may be facing.  We don’t need to know the play by play of our lives ahead of time because we have a God who fulfills His promises and completes His purpose for each of us.   This is a lesson I seem to repeat over and over, but it is no less true.  He is my certainty, if I only stop long enough to recognize His perspective.  Mary and Joseph rooted themselves in the certainty of God and forged ahead to fulfill His purpose for the world.  My hope is to do the same this Christmas and into the New Year.