Immanuel | Devotion #2: Expect His Presence
Carole Combs | Wife of Lead Pastor Jim Combs
I am guessing that you must not be like me; everything that you plan and work towards happens just as you have planned. You never have any unexpected happenings, right? What an absurd thought! All of us often, if not daily, get curve balls thrown at us on a regular basis. How are you doing with those unexpected happenings? What has been your thoughts or responses? If unexpected things happen each day to all of us, should our responses to the unexpected be different as a follower of Christ than those who do not know Christ?
It was a wonderful day. Mary was engaged to be married to the most wonderful man named Joseph. He was a very handsome and talented carpenter. Mary was anticipating their special day together that she had dreamt of since she was a little girl. Her wedding dress had been sewn together with love. The detailed plans of the wedding were falling into place. Then the unexpected happened. While Mary was doing her daily chores, an angel named Gabriel appeared to Mary. As he spoke to her, he said, “Greetings O favored one, the Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28). We see the human response of Mary (1:29) which is helpful to you and I. Mary was troubled. How often do you have an angel appear to you and engage you in a conversation? The angel told Mary not to be afraid (1:30).
Often our first response to the unexpected can be fear. Fear can blind you and paralyze you from seeing and hearing what God has for you in the unexpected.
Luke 1:31-33 continues the story, “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
For Mary, it was decision time to trust God in the unexpected or not trust Him. Mary responds to the shocking, unexpected news with, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). Not too far away, Joseph, the groom, experienced the unexpected. Joseph was sleeping after a very long day of work. It had been quite an emotional day as he pondered how he would send his beloved pregnant Mary away privately. The child was not his. How could this have happened? An angel appeared to Joseph in a dream, “Do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’ (which means, God with us)” (Matthew 1:20-23). Joseph woke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him to do. The unexpected events that changed Joseph and Mary’s day were God’s plans and purposes for their lives. God carefully handpicked this young couple. It was a series of unexpected events; however, they were events that had been prophesied 700 years earlier. This was the King that they both had learned about and were expecting. This was the King that was to come to earth to save the people. It went from the most unexpected day to the expected best day ever! God desires to be with you, and He has a purpose designed just for you. He sent his Son Jesus to be the perfect sacrifice for the sins of you, me, and the whole world. He came in the most unexpected way, but He was expected! What better gift could you expect at Christmas? We have His love! If you miss love, you have missed everything!