TITLE: Nobody Knows The Trouble…
DATE: December 19, 2019
Christ is risen. He is risen, indeed.
TEXT: 1 Peter5: 6-7 – ESV - -6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
Zacharias, the father of John, the priest of God who doubted the angel Gabriel's message of a future son. So much so that he was struck dumb for a period of over nine months. Zachariah has his troubles as he left the incense place and had to motion to the people to go away with sign language, he had to write the name of his son on a tablet. We would call him handicapped.
Or think of Elizabeth, his wife. She was no stranger to trouble. Had not people of her village and community laughed at her for many years. And not just laughed, but since childlessness was considered a mark of disfavor from God, a punishment for a sin of the past, she perhaps had been the object of many a judgmental eye. No, Elizabeth had her troubles.
Or how about Joseph, betrothed to a girl that was now pregnant, and the child was not his own. Cuckolded by his intended even before the marriage was finalized. Joseph had his troubles, too.
Or Mary. Wagging tongues about her condition, traveling by donkey across a rough and rock strewn country at a time of advanced pregnancy is uncomfortable to say the least, and life threatening at the worst. No finding a place to stay and give birth in the most filthy of barns has never been an ideal labor. Yes, Mary had her troubles on that trip
Of course, there were the shepherds. Those souls to whom the angels announce the good news of great joy which shall be to all people, the shepherds who are first to hear that a Savior has been born to them, a Savior, Christ the Lord. We admire them when we hear they say, "Let us go and see this thing which has come to pass." But we forget they are leaving their jobs, their livelihood.
And the Wise men. Sages from Persia, unknown in number, who have traveled a long time, covering many miles. They have their troubles, too. Bandits who would separate them from their generous gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And then the curious welcome in Jerusalem when they ask Herod where is the new king of the Jews and are told that no such person exists. Has their trip been in vain?
That, dear friends, is the picture of the first Christmas. Problems of pregnancy and family. Problems of social status and peer pressure. Troubles of travel and misplaced hopes. Troubles of finances and troubles of government. Official murder and gossip. There are few troubles that we have today that the Christmas story cannot match or beat. The Christmas story has them all. And that makes me feel good. It makes me feel good because I know that Jesus knew what He was talking about over 30 years later when He said to His disciples and to us: "Let not your hearts be troubled.” That is His message to you today "Do not let your hearts be troubled."
Understand,, Jesus is not saying, "You don't have troubles.' He was a man afflicted, beaten, misunderstood, denied, deserted, betrayed, crucified. he was tempted more ways than we can understand. Nor will Jesus say, "Don't think about your troubles. What He does say is, "Don't let your hearts be troubled." That's not the same as pretending that your troubles will disappear. That's not the same as not thinking about your problems. What Jesus is saying is that when troubles do come, like they did for every person in the Christmas Gospel, don't let them run your life, don't let them dominate you. He can handle it.
THE PRAYER: Lord grant that I may see through my troubles and realize You are the solution to all of life’s woes. In Your holy Name I pray it. Amen.
The music which introduces and concludes our devotions was written by Guy Baumann. He along with three of his brothers perform on the album: The Baumann Brothers which may be ordered here: http://thebaumannbrothers.com/index.html