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God’s Plan Is Good, but Not Always Convenient
By Rick Warren

“Joseph went from Nazareth, a city in Galilee, to a Judean city called Bethlehem . . . Joseph went there to register with Mary. She had been promised to him in marriage and was pregnant. While they were in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to have her child.” Luke 2:4-6 (GW)

God’s plan for your life is good. It’s for your benefit. It’s a loving plan. But it doesn’t mean it’s painless, and it doesn’t mean it’ll always be convenient.

This was particularly true with Jesus’ birth. The circumstances were hardly convenient for Mary and Joseph. The Bible tells us, “At that time, the Emperor Augustus ordered a census of the Roman Empire . . . So Joseph went from Nazareth, a city in Galilee, to a Judean city called Bethlehem . . . Joseph went there to register with Mary. She had been promised to him in marriage and was pregnant. While they were in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to have her child” (Luke 2:1, 4-6 GW).

As they prepared to face their role as parents to the Son of God, Mary, and Joseph heard that Caesar issued a census, and everybody had to go back to their ancestral town.

Let’s put that in perspective: If tomorrow the government made a rule that required every single person to go back to the town they were from—all at the same time—it would cause chaos! Every plane, train, and automobile would be booked. Every highway would be filled. It would be incredibly frustrating and remarkably inconvenient.

Now try navigating that chaos nine months pregnant. Imagine how inconvenient it would be to travel by donkey to another city when you’re ready to give birth at any moment. That’s what Mary did. Then, when she finally got to Bethlehem, she had to deliver her baby in a barn, surrounded by a bunch of animals.

None of the circumstances around Jesus’ birth were convenient. But they were part of God’s plan. It had been long foretold that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem. The inconveniences to get them there were part of a bigger plan for Joseph and Mary, one that was better than they could have ever dreamed.

Joseph and Mary trusted God through their discomfort and fear. You, too, can trust that all the things God does in your life are because he knows best. He might use some inconveniences to get you where you need to be, but he is always working for your good and working out his purposes in your life.

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This devotional © 2018 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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