I will never be accused of knowing the grand scheme of things. I regularly jump into a situation, full steam ahead running (sort of like Phoebe from FRIENDS). And part way through my adventure, I begin to experience repercussions. And let’s be real. I either think about quitting or I actually do. Fear takes over. I begin to have this inner dialog and every sentence begins with the same ridiculous stem.
I get hurt?
the risk doesn’t pay out?
I look foolish?
I am wrong?
I hurt someone else?
this takes off, and I lose all the control I pretend to have, and God’s plans are so big that I am in over my head?
It’s all wrong, I know. But it’s real. My perspective is all wrong, so when I look at what feels like the big picture, my fear appears to be the biggest iron in the fire. All wrong.
As I was reading through the story of Jesus’s birth today, it struck me that maybe the Magi found themselves in my same predicament. Only, as I kept reading, their story had infinitely heavier repercussions than anything I will ever do.
What if they never would have come? What if they looked at that star and that prophesy and in all their exceptional wisdom weighed their knowledge with logic and decided this was just too crazy? The easy answer is that God would have sent someone else. That’s what he does.
He sets an action in motion, and he lets us choose to be a part of it or say, “no thank you,” to him. And if we opt out, he finds someone else. That dream deep in my heart to (fill in the blank)? He passes it on to someone else if I stay unwilling.
“Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” Matthew 2:7-8
And then what? The wise men saw through this. They knew Herod was up to something evil.
“And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.” Matthew 2:12
And you know what happens next? Herod decides to try to weed out baby Jesus. He orders that every male, two years old and under, be killed.
Does this fit any of the what if questions I run through my mind? Every. single. one of them. Fear. Too great a risk. hurt. blame. way too heavy.
I can’t help but wonder if the Magi felt responsible for the deaths of all of these boys. These babies ripped from their homes, all killed in a very short span. These heirs. These pride and joys. All gone because the wise men chose to protect Jesus, their Messiah.
This is a repercussion larger than I can fathom. It hurts my heart so deeply to think of a nation’s loss. This is the clear spiritual warfare. Straight evil.
And still, it was the right choice. Maybe they didn’t realize what their choice of secrecy would lead to, but they risked it all for the One True King.
I want to live this way. I pray this Christmas that each of us, chasing after whatever it is God has called us into, will stand with this sort of unshakeable belief in God. He is worth it. He is so worth it.
“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:8-12