God always fulfills His promises. Are you ready for change?
Joseph had an amazing promise from God. He would be elevated above his brothers, and they would revere him! But it took years of waiting and preparing before that promise was fulfilled. And when it did, the real work began!
We see the same thing when we look at others in scripture who received long-awaited promises. The Israelites had to drive out the wicked inhabitants of their Promised Land. David had to bring together a divided nation and continue to fight their enemies when he became king. The disciples spread the Gospel of the Kingdom from Jerusalem, to Judea and to the ends of the earth. Mary had to give birth and raise a child when her Promise arrived.
Waiting can be difficult. But it’s a time to prepare yourself for all that is required when God’s promise is fulfilled.
Sometimes the wait is short, but other times it seems to go on forever. From the time God gave Joseph a dream, he labored for 13+ years before his sudden elevation to 2nd in command of one of the greatest nations on earth at the time. Moses was a shepherd in Midian for 40 years before God called him to free the Israelites. The Israelites slaved for 400 years before walking out of Egypt free. Mary waited 9 months for Jesus’ birth.
The Promise Will Change Your Life
A promise fulfilled by God will change your life, and likely give you added responsibility. As I have been pondering this, the Lord showed me a few things from Mary’s story that are relevant to us.
Our Expectations Of Change Are Rarely Right
When Mary thought about giving birth to the Messiah she was carrying, I doubt she thought she would do it in a stable far from home. She probably assumed she would be on a soft pallet with her mom coaching her through the contractions. But it wasn’t like that.
A lot of other Israelites thought their Messiah would be born in a palace. When that didn’t happen, they completely missed the significance of Jesus’ birth. Of course, Mary couldn’t miss it; she was in the middle of it. But I am sure she did not imagine it happening like it did!
We must lay down our expectations about the promise we are waiting for, so we don’t misread it, or miss it all together.
When The Waiting Is Over, The Work Begins
Once Jesus was born – Mary had a lot of work to do! At that point, Jesus was helpless. He was definitely the Messiah, but Mary had to feed Him, burp Him, clothe Him, change Him, and everything else mom’s do for their children. Her job, her role wasn’t over when Messiah arrived – that is when life got busy!
God fulfilled a promise in my life and boy is that true! When I was younger, God put a desire in my heart for a big family. Finally, more than 20 years later, I went from being single to being stepmom of 6 kids, overnight! As you can imagine, life got very busy. It was definitely not what I expected to happen. My life changed and I had a lot more responsibility. Some days I didn’t like the sacrifices I had to make. But that was part of the promise fulfilled!
When salvation comes to a loved one, discipleship is needed – that takes effort. As healing comes, daily routines are altered for the good, but work is required. When a promotion comes, there will be more responsibility to manage. When revival comes there may be long days and nights of ministry. It will all be worth it, but it will require our intense involvement! So, get ready to change, and get ready to work!
Treasure God’s Word In Your Heart
Mary and Joseph had just finished an arduous journey, were staying in a stable with some animals, and she went into labor. Joseph, a carpenter, who had likely never delivered anything before, is the one who delivers Jesus. They wrap Him and lay Him in a manger – needing rest themselves. Then suddenly, a bunch of excited shepherds come looking for their baby. They proclaimed that angels appeared and told them to find the Messiah. Exhausted, Mary probably wanted sleep, not company. But she knew God was speaking to her through the shepherd’s tale. She took note of what they said and treasured every word. Over the years, when times were challenging, I have no doubt she remembered it all. The Words of God she treasured in her heart helped her trust even when she did not understand what God was doing.
Cling to God’s Word in the midst of the changes. When you don’t understand all God is doing, His Word will help guide you.
Be Assured, God Will Provide For The Changes
After Jesus’ birth, Mary and Joseph apparently settled in Bethlehem. Based on the very little we know; it seems like they were doing okay. Then the Magi present them with very valuable gifts, just in time for their flight to Egypt. Joseph and Mary had no idea they would flee in the middle of the night to another country. They could not take much. But the gold, frankincense, and myrrh provided plenty for them live on. That might have been what sustained Mary and her family after Joseph’s death too.
So, even if stewarding the promise seems overwhelming – be assured, God will provide!
Be Quick To Obey
There is generally fierce opposition whenever God is at work. Of course, God can complete everything He starts. But He still requires quick obedience on our part. When Herod ordered the slaughter of every boy near Bethlehem under the age of two, an angel woke Joseph in the middle of the night. He told Joseph to get up and take his family to Egypt. Mary and Joseph didn’t wait until morning, they got up right then and left. God could have hidden and protected Jesus in Bethlehem, but His purposes required them to go to Egypt. It fulfilled a prophecy found in Hosea 1:1 about Messiah.
We may not always understand what God is doing. But we can trust He knows what is best – so when He speaks to us, obey His voice quickly.
If you are still waiting on a promise from God. Get ready! When it comes, things will change!
Dr. Jodie Chiricosta is vice president of Somebody Cares America/International. She teaches and consults on a variety of Christian living and leadership topics and is the host of the podcast Her God Story.