“…Narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life,”

The excitement of seeing my first child born was matchless to any other experience I have had. I know that this statement may not resonate with everyone but when it happens to you I’m almost certain you will agree. Before my wife and I found out that we were going to have our first child I did not understand completely what I was in for. I was excited but it was not based on any experience I had. Yet when I heard his heartbeat while still in the womb and laid eyes on him for the first time, my world has never been the same. Yet, as my wife can tell you, there was nothing easy about the process.

I am certain that there were no shortcuts from the discomfort or pain as Mary gave birth to her first-born son. Sure it would seem plausible considering the responsibility given to her and Joseph that God may allow her a pass from the pains of childbirth and raising a toddler, but I’m inclined to disagree. It’s through the perseverance of difficulty that we discover the grace and mercy of God that allows us to celebrate when those moments pass.

Mary was pregnant with a promise from God. Yet the fulfillment of that promise would be met with challenges; mentally, emotionally and spiritually. The promises of God are an act of His sovereignty. We don’t earn or deserve them. There is nothing about you or I on our best day that inclines God to give anything to us. We are selected because He loves us and He loves to give good gifts to His children (Matthew 7:11).

There was nothing easy about the fulfillment of God’s promise to Mary. From the announcement of the Angel that she would become pregnant as the “power of the Most High will overshadow you”, to the conversation with Joseph about the unplanned pregnancy, to the three-day journey on the back of a donkey at full-term, to the rejection of family and friends leaving her to deliver the promised King in a lowly manger. All of these events must have cast doubt and disappointment upon Mary and Joseph.

“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” Hebrews 10:36

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trail,” James 1:12.

Challenges are sometimes an indicator that you are on the right path. “…Narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life,” Matthew 7:13-14. If you find yourself on the “longsuffering” end of God’s promises, let Christmas remind you that God ALWAYS fulfills His promises. Even when things do not appear to be working in your favor remember that you serve a God who is never delinquent or late in His timing to fulfill them. No matter what your situation may look or feel like, God is faithful. Jesus is the assurance that God will come through for you! (2 Corinthians 1:20)

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