How many things happen that are inconvenient to you, and maybe irritate you or steal your smile?
We love the times we find the perfect parking place, the store has just what we want in stock, people are on time, there's no line at the checkout, traffic flows smoothly, etc.—but how quickly the times that those things don't happen can get under our skin!
I was curled up and reading a book about Christmas recently, and the way the author worded something made me really think. How inconvenient it was for Joseph—already having his marriage and life plans thrown awry and having to wrap himself around the idea that his fiance was pregnant by God, and already having to travel with his pregnant wife (imagine if everyone in your state had to return to their place of birth at the same time!)—only to finally get where he was going with his wife showing signs of labor and then to find out there was no room at the inn!
But here's the crazy part about that too full inn . . .
. . . God, who plans the most minute details of a plant, who knows every hair on our head, who designs the intricacies of a cell and the unfathomable scope and beauty of a galaxy, had been planning that Christmas moment for over 4,000 thousands of years—likely for all of time as we know it!
Ephesians tells us that the cross was planned from before the foundation of the earth. Adam and Eve's sin didn't catch God by surprise, and the cross wasn't "Plan B." Then, from the Fall onward, Scripture is filled with prophetic details accurately giving us future glimpses of the birth of Jesus centuries before it ever took place—Bethlehem (which also means the census to get Mary there), a virgin, a name—Immanuel—and so on. And the New Testament, referring to Christ's birth, calls it "the fullness of time," which to me tells me all of time prior pointed to, focused on, and awaited that fulfilling moment of Christ's birth.
And yet, the inn was full! And a food trough for animals was the only available crib! Wow!
How could God have not known about, or overlooked, that significantly inconvenient moment?!
The thing is, there is really no legitimate way I can see to realize that the focus of the Creator had been on that moment for thousands of years, with every detail foretold, and to then not believe that He knew the inn would be full, and that a manger would be the only resting place available. Which means . . . that Joseph and Mary's "inconvenience" was a part of God's greatest plan.
And so, I need to look at the irritating "inconveniences" in my life and see what God is doing in them, because they surely don't catch God by surprise. Maybe in the next aisle or checkstand over there is a divine appointment—a person needing Christ's love. Maybe in the delay there is a divine appointment coming that wouldn't otherwise, or maybe I am being shielded from something, or it is bringing my life into contact with another's that otherwise wouldn't have happened. After all, would the shepherds have even been able (or comfortable) visiting the baby if He was in a small hotel room?
Never forget, when there are "inconveniences" in your life, that the inn was full—and that it didn't catch God by surprise.