December 11, 2013
Pausing for just a moment on the busy street corner, she thinks to herself, “How in the world did I get here? When did my life take such a drastic turn? This is not at all how I imagined things would turn out.” It is a busy street corner in a bustling part of the city. Most of the stores and businesses are preparing to close for the evening, and the sidewalk is crowded with people rushing past on their way home after a long day of work.
There is really nothing out of the ordinary about the girl, nothing that would give people a reason to notice her. Just an average teenager standing on the street corner. Plain face, simple clothing, shoes somewhat worn and dirty. Nothing unusual except, perhaps, the fact that she is very, very pregnant.
A year ago, if anyone had asked her what she envisioned for her future, her answer would have sounded just like many other teens her age: get married some day, live a peaceful quiet life with a nice man, have children. She had been raised in a fine, stable, very religious family, and had always been content and compliant, never giving her parents any trouble at all.
And yet here she stands, young and unmarried, about to have a baby in an unfamiliar city surrounded by no one she knows. No family members, no doctor or hospital, not even a warm bed somewhere. She actually has no idea where she will be spending the night.
Standing next to her is a young man, slightly older. He is not the baby’s father. In fact, when he found out that she was expecting a child, he was so angry and hurt and confused that he actually considered killing her! However, for the past 9 months he has remained faithful and supportive of her, despite the shame and the embarrassment. He is a solid, dependable young man, who has always worked hard at his construction job. However, he now finds himself temporarily homeless, wondering what the future holds for himself and the girl he loves.
As they continue wandering through the streets, searching for a place to stay for the night, the buildings become further and further apart. The sky darkens, the sun disappearing over the horizon, and the evening becomes darker and much colder. The distant lights of the city provide little guidance for their steps.
“Oh!” she cries out suddenly! She stiffens and doubles over in surprise.
He stops and gently touches her shoulder. “What’s wrong?” he asks, concern in his voice. “Are you alright?”
She manages a weak smile. “Yes, it was just a sharp pain there for a second. I’m sure it’s nothing.”
A few minutes later she is forced to admit, “Okay, maybe it’s not nothing. I think it may be time for the baby to come. What are we going to do?”
“We’ll figure something out,” he assures her, although his brave tone hides his rising fear.
He holds tightly to her arm, trying to lead her and support her. “There,” he points, “let’s stop there.” The place looks abandoned and dilapidated. Once inside, it takes a moment for their eyes to adjust to the dim light. It smells of mold and old urine, and they try to ignore the sounds of bugs and rats scurrying about. It is thoroughly unsanitary and most likely dangerous, the worst place imaginable to have a baby! But the young couple has no choice. They have nowhere else to go.
He eases her to the floor, and soon afterwards, a new little life enters the world. The young man is frightened, never having been in this situation before, and not at all sure what to do to help. The girl cries, tears of pain of course, but also tears of relief and loneliness and fear and inadequacy. And tears of joy. She sees him then. A boy. A healthy, clenched-fisted, beautiful baby boy!
This is how his story begins. In deplorable, unthinkable circumstances. Born to a pair of teenagers, penniless and homeless, with no one to notice his arrival. No one to celebrate his birth.
And yet, inconceivably, this is the story that God chose, that He wrote for His own Son! No great celebration or grand display. No recognition. He didn’t even choose important, famous, highly educated, wealthy people to be His parents. No, He chose a common girl to be His mother. A humble young man to raise Him as his own.
There was nothing special or extraordinary about them. Nothing that anyone would notice. Nothing unusual except, perhaps, their willingness to surrender to God. In faith, they overcame fears and doubts, set aside their own dreams for the future, and even risked their reputations. They completely trusted the One who called them to this unique, magnificent task. Their simple faith became obedience. And obedience always precedes the miracle.
Moses raised his staff high in obedience, and then the miracle. The Red Sea parted.
The blind man washed his eyes in obedience, and then the miracle. He was healed.
The young boy offered his meager bread and fish in obedience, and then the miracle. 5,000 people were fed that day.
Mary and Joseph said “yes” in obedience, and then the miracle. They became the parents of a baby boy who forever changed the history of the world!
What is God asking us to do? Has He called us to play some small role in His great plan? Are we willing to surrender completely to the task to which He has called us? To relinquish plans and reputations and comfort? To put aside our uncertainties and insecurities? To offer our meager talents and abilities? To simply say “yes” to His call?
We may be ordinary. Simple and humble people whom the world would not notice. But oh, that our hearts would be filled with faith! Even a weak, imperfect faith that could become obedience! And then maybe, just maybe, we, too, will see the miracle.
What a privilege it would be for Him to choose us, in some small way, for a special task. Perhaps a thankless, hidden, unnoticed task that requires our complete trust and surrender and dependence on Him. Oh, what an honor to become a part of His story!