Have you thought to yourself; “How could I ever be used of God? I’ve got so many failures and flaws. I have a bad family life. My family has a bad reputation. I don’t have a nice house. I’m poor. I’ve been rejected by my own family.” Well consider this: When the angel announced to Mary that she would give birth to the Son of God, he didn't conclude with the words, "Therefore, we'll put you in a mansion with a team of servants at your beck and call." One could argue that she deserved it, but that's not the life God calls us to. He calls us to a life with a price tag—a life of sacrifice.

Mary was the greatest of all women, but instead of being given luxury, she was given simplicity. Her husband was a poor carpenter. They lived in a poor community in Galilee, kind of like living in the Appalachia hills of east Tennessee. When she was 8 months pregnant, she was required to take a long journey to a distant city. It was there she gave birth to her child — not in a comfortable home, surrounded by a loving family, but alone, with only her husband, in a stable, surrounded by farm animals.

This is how it is for those whom God chooses. Sometimes the road gets rough. Sometimes we fail and have a hard way to go; there's just no getting around it. The road to the fulfillment of the promises of God does not run downhill. It's an uphill climb, and sometimes it's less than easy.

But I can guarantee you one thing: It's always worth it.

My favorite verse in birth narratives of Jesus is found in Luke 2:19. After Jesus was born, and the angels announced his birth, and the shepherd boys came to witness this miracle, the Bible says...

Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. (Luke 2:19)

Do you know what I imagine were the thoughts of her heart?

"It's worth it. Every demanding day. Every whispered rumor. Every daring step of this difficult journey. It's all worth it, because look at what God has given me."

In the mother of our savior we find an example to follow. It challenges us to keep believing God, even when the road gets rough.


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