What He Says Over What We See
Updated: Jan 6
“There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, ‘Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.’” Luke 2:8-12
Just the other day a friend was asking me about a decision I had been trying to make. There was a new opportunity I had been presented with and it seemed great on the outside, but I felt like God was prompting me to say no and to go in a different direction.
When I was telling my friend about it, she immediately understood because she said this was consistent with how God has worked in her life too.
Sometimes, something might appear amazing on the outside, and later we might find out it isn't what we thought. On the other side, something might not look how we thought it would, but it might be the perfect thing for us.
Maybe you've seen this in your life when you look back in hindsight and realize that even though God gave you something other than what you expected, it was exactly what you needed.
I think this is usually true in the kingdom of God, and we see such a clear picture of it when Jesus came into the world.
The world needed a savior. They were waiting for these prophecies to be fulfilled. They were expectant and ready. And they got a savior, but He wasn’t what they thought He would be.
He was a baby, born by an unmarried virgin, in a manger during a tumultuous political time. Jesus had pretty humble beginnings. And while He was on earth, He didn't live the lavish life we might expect a King to live. Instead, He did the opposite of what people thought He would do in most circumstances. He didn't spend His time how people expected Him to.
Can you imagine being told the savior of the world is finally here, and then being told you can expect to find Him as a tiny little baby, wrapped up in a blanket lying in a manger?
I think I would have been pretty caught off guard. I can imagine the excitement and the anticipation of Jesus’ birth, but I also feel like a lot of people were probably scratching their heads with confusion.
This? This is the plan to reconcile people back to God and to allow them to enter into a full relationship with Him? I know if I couldn’t see the full picture, knowing what I know on this side of history, I’d be pretty taken aback.
Maybe this past year has left you scratching your head, staring at something that seems a little bit unexpected compared to the promise God gave you.
Maybe you lost your job, or maybe you’ve been forced into a transition or maybe you’ve been confronted with uncertainty and fear throughout this year. I certainly feel confused when I look to the circumstances I'm surrounded by instead of looking to the promises God gave me.
God promised a savior, and He delivered His Son as a savior, but when He showed up, it was a bit of a surprise. The angel calls Him Savior, and the people see a newborn baby, seemingly helpless, born in a pretty messy situation.
The shepherds take what the angel said to heart. They go, and they look for the savior and they celebrate and rejoice that this baby is the savior of the world. In that moment, wrapped in a blanket newly born, I don’t know if Jesus really looked the part. But I want to be like the shepherds, who took God at His Word and trusted what He said more than what they saw.
I think we are invited into that same belief and hope this season.
It might not look how you thought it would, but don’t rely on what it looks like is happening. Instead, cling to the promises of hope and peace God has given us. Let’s anticipate what He promises, what He said, and believe that more than what we see.
-Imagine being the ones receiving this good news of the savior coming. What do you think a savior would look like?
-What is a circumstance or experience in your life that you have been through that looked one way, but turned out a different way?
-What does trusting in what God says rather than how something appears look like in your life?
Think of one area in your life where you don’t see what you feel God has promised you. How can you focus on God’s promise more than what you see? Where is the promise God has for you in His Word?
Hey God, thank you for being a God who keeps His promises even when they might not look how we expected them to. Help us to see in the Spirit what you have promised even if things look the exact opposite in our circumstances. Make us people of hope and faith, taking you at your word and trusting what you say over what we see. Amen.
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