When, Lord, will Your promises be seen?
When God speaks His promises to our hearts, prophesies on our lives, He’s working behind the scenes to achieve the goal. What then, when we’ve not seen results? When will they come to pass?
Though you heard confirmation and have been waiting, the answer you expected has not yet occurred. In fact, things seem far from in God’s control. Did you hear Him wrong? Wasn’t it God’s voice you heard? Doubt has begun its death march into your heart, tainting the hope you’d once joyfully held.
Have faith. Whether you think He’s paying attention or not, God’s will is still being done, on earth as it is in heaven. In many ways, the story of Christmas offers great encouragement that God is working behind the scenes on things not yet seen in our personal lives today.
God Influences Many as He Works Behind the Scenes
It was a decree, an order that all return to their places of birth. The decision was made by one person, one man in authority. Without his realization, he’d been influenced by God. You see, it was necessary. In order for prophecy to be fulfilled, movement had to take place. It was announced and executed. Many people had to be involved to bring such an order into fruition. Shifts in location of multitudes of people were in the works long before the moment of Jesus’ birth.
Before God prophesied to you, He’d already set into motion the elements required to fulfill His intent. He’s working on things behind the scenes, just as He had in Bethlehem. His power is so far reaching, it includes even the decisions, mindset, and movement of others.
In addition to the logistics of Jesus’ birth location, many details were necessary to accomplish God’s will in the Christmas story. He needed particular people to believe, trust, and be obedient to His direction. God sent angels to make visits, clearly revealing to Mary and certain shepherds the unseen Spiritual world that surrounds us.
Have you entertained angels unaware? Have you sensed the wisdom within someone’s suggestion? Are you open to see the Spiritual realm around us?
Don’t Be Limited By the Picture in Your Mind
Mary had been told she would deliver the King. A promise on her life had been given. What picture in her mind was being challenged as she settled onto a bed of straw? What difficulty are you enduring right now that seems so distant from the image of God’s will in your mind? Take heart. What God brings about is often not what we envision in our limited thinking.
Dreams were used to direct Joseph and the wise men, but to keep God’s plan on track and protect Jesus, these people needed to trust His prodding and act on it. Jesus’ appointed time to save His people hadn’t yet come, and God gave instruction that would keep Him safe for the time being.
However, their obedience led to horrific events for many families all across the land. It was God who’d spoken to them, but did they question that at any time?
Things Often Seem Worse Before They Get Better
Often, in our lives, when we release control to God, things seem to get far worse before they get better. Hold onto Him. Trust Him as He works to manipulate the things out of our lives that aren’t necessary and draws that in which He desires. God’s reigning presence brings a shift that may initially appear wrong.
God influenced the authorities of the land so that Mary and Joseph would travel. He influenced the multitudes to fill Bethlehem, arriving before them and filling the rooms, causing Jesus to be born in a manger. Those called to worship the newborn King were inspired by God as well. Not one detail was delayed or missed.
In fact, the heaven’s themselves were manipulated to participate. A star, whose light took years to travel to earth, gave direction, clearly showing that God had been at work in far reaching ways long before the trek to Bethlehem.
Rest assured, long before God spoke to you, He’d set His will in motion. Though it may be behind the scenes, the work He’s doing is powerful and will culminate at the appropriate time.
Wait in Confidence, God Is Working Behind the Scenes!
The Christmas story illustrates wonderfully so many elements God had in the works behind the scenes in order to fulfill prophecy. When we hear a word from Him, a prophecy on our own lives, a simple thought back to the birth of our King can encourage us to trust, embrace His peace in the process, and wait in confidence.
Oppression Is A Heavy Burden
“I heard the bells on Christmas Day. Their old familiar carols play, and wild and sweet the words repeat of peace on earth, goodwill to men.”
Can you hear them? I hadn’t. I couldn’t. I’d been waiting, wishing, and even desperately trying to conjure their sound. I needed to hear it, the words of the truth that “peace on earth” could be real. Was it real? Was it even possible? I sat at the piano, playing with my right hand while holding the hymnal in my left. Life was rough then, oppression was heavy on my shoulders. It was tangible and the weight was having an impact. I played on.
Is Peace Possible?
“I thought how, as the day had come, the belfries of all Christendom had rolled along th’unbroken song of peace on earth, goodwill to men.”
I believed. I’d spent my childhood learning these messages and songs of peace and joy. Though I’d doubted through my teen years, I’d recently met and fallen in love with my Lord and Savior. Yet, there I was, seriously questioning whether peace was possible. Satan was doggedly determined to hurt and destroy me, using even the people I loved and cared about most.
Why Is Evil So Strong?
“And in despair I bowed my head: ‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said, ‘For hate is strong, and mocks the song of peace on earth, goodwill to men.’”
I did. Just as the song had said, I played the notes, read the words, and bowed my head. I was defeated. I was hurting and lost. Why was I losing everything I had? It seemed impossible to protect those I loved. Why was I so strongly being attacked? I was convinced, at that moment, that peace was not real, and mocking its reality was appropriate. How could hate be so strong? Why could one intentionally and ultimately succeed in taking another’s peace away? The timid, the weak, and the loving always seemed to be attacked. We are no match for evil. Why can’t we win? Can’t the world see that we are not the ones wrong, that we are being wronged? “Why?” I sobbed.
God Revealed Them – I Heard the Bells!
“Then peeled the bells more loud and deep: ‘God is not dead: nor doth He sleep; the wrong shall fail the right prevail, with peace on earth, goodwill to men.’”
Oh my goodness! I heard the bells! Did you? The answer was there, in black and white, in the reverberating sound of tolling bells. I’d read the words, I reread them once more to be sure. I felt it in my Spirit, deep within my being. The wrong shall fail, the right prevail WITH PEACE on earth, goodwill to men. I can hear them!
The bells tolled in my heart that day. I felt an immediate relief from the weight that had wrapped its heavy darkness about my shoulders. It physically felt different!
God Is Mightier Than Evil
My life transformed instantly. My heart’s focus on Christ deepened as my trust of Him and His plans for me became more concrete. I wasn’t going to “win” in any earthly way that would show the public how great I was or how I was being done wrong. No, I was going to “win” because I was now able to experience peace regardless of circumstances, something my enemy would never be able to feel. The desire at that time to care what people thought or judged of my life disappeared. I lost the need to be in control of my circumstances, because I knew God was really in control. I became confident that the worldly failure or success people were waiting to see was insignificant. The peace God gave to me that day was the ultimate Christmas gift!
God’s Peace Can Be Experienced in the Midst of Chaos
“Till ringing, singing on its way, the world revolved from night to day, a voice, a chime, a chant sublime, of peace on earth, goodwill to men!”
The world continued on, revolving and shedding its light and darkness upon our lives in an endless pattern, seemingly normal. No earthquake alerted the population of God’s touch that I’d experienced. No public win of any sort occurred exposing my goodness to the world, or the evil of my enemy for that matter. Life went on, but as it did, my heart’s desire changed even more. I prayed for peace. I prayed for others to experience and believe in the peace that I was experiencing. It did not take away difficulty. It did not mean a lack of problems. Peace was not what I had always expected it should look like. I felt the power within it, and one day, I came to the realization that I wanted desperately for my enemy to experience it as well.
Father, I know that only those that You draw will meet and experience the beauty of a relationship with Your Son, Jesus Christ. I pray, this Christmas season, that You touch many in need, that they experience the transformation that leads to Your peace which passes all understanding. Let them hear the bells! I pray they sense Your love and guidance and grow to trust You, for that brings comfort and confidence in Your plan, regardless of circumstances. In Jesus name, Amen.
Check out “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” as sung by Casting Crowns.