Sometimes when life happens, it happens fast! Put yourself in Joseph’s and Mary’s shoes for a minute:
After returning from Jerusalem and three months into her pregnancy, Mary had to face her family and husband-to-be Joseph. After his initial doubts, Joseph believed the angel of the Lord that Mary’s child indeed was the Son of God. Instead of breaking the engagement he married her.
A few months later, Augustus’ decree was requesting all citizens of Israel to register in their ancestral towns. This was Mary’s second trip to Judea during her pregnancy, only now she was in her third trimester! The direct distance from Nazareth to Bethlehem is about 70 miles. Mary and Joseph probably walked more than 90 miles before they reached Bethlehem.
Why this untimely decree? Without it Mary could have delivered the baby in the comfort of her own home. Embracing life sometimes feels like embracing a cactus, doesn’t it? Though in the end it all comes together and falls into place. The child had to be born in King David’s hometown, thereby drawing the family connection to David and fulfilling ancient prophecy.
This is a great example how God’s timing often seems to be out of sync with human timing. I’ve been playing guitar all my life, and to me navigating life is a bit like navigating music. There are some complicated rhythms out there, and musicians, attuned to this kind of thing, effortlessly play in time and in tune, a mystery to people without a musical ear or rhythm in their blood. “Get rhythm”, an old popular Johnny Cash song – easier said than done! Have you ever tried to teach a person with no sense of timing how to dance? This is a good analogy of us trying to dance to life’s odd rhythms, its surprising seasons, and unforeseen events. We’re poor life’s dancers if we impatiently expect a problem to be solved yesterday and feel that God’s way of intervening is slow or seems to make matters worse. By the way – God is a wonderful dance teacher! We’re learning our very first dance steps as we open up to Him.
Try it: Put your life in God’s hands; trust Him that He has your back; that, my friend, is dancing to God’s heartbeat. And guess what: we’ll enjoy the kaleidoscope of life’s ever-changing seasons a whole lot more!