When the angel announced to Mary that she would give birth to the Son of God, he didn't conclude the announcement by saying, "Therefore, we'll put you in a mansion and bring you catered meals every day and you'll have servants at your beck and call." One might argue that such a woman deserves such luxury. 

But that's not the life God calls you to. He calls you to a life that comes with a price tag. He calls you to a life of sacrifice. Mary was arguably the greatest woman who ever lived, and yet, instead of being given a life of luxury, she was called to live a simple life. Her husband was a carpenter. They lived in a poor community in Galilee, which might be compared to living in Appalachia. When she was 8 months pregnant, she was required to take a long journey to a distant city, where she gave birth to her child, not in a comfortable home, surrounded by a loving family, but alone, in a stable, surrounded by farm animals. 

The fact is that sometimes the road gets rough. Sometimes you just have a hard way to go; there's no getting around it. In my life in ministry there have been times when I have asked, "God, why don't you make this easier? Why can't you let me just coast for a while?" 

It's because those who seek to live a life of faith must sometimes travel a long and lonely path. This applies to me, it applies to you, and it applies to everyone. The road to the fulfillment of the promises of God does not flow downhill. It's an upward climb, and sometimes it's rough. But I can guarantee you one thing: It's always worth it. 

One of my favorite verses in the Christmas story is found in Luke chapter two. After Jesus had been born, and the angels had announced his birth and the shepherd boys had come 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 think she thought? "It's worth it — Every difficult day — Every whispered rumor— Every step of this long journey. It's all worth it, because look at what God has given me."

If you believe that nothing is impossible with God, and that he's going to give you the ability to overcome in any situation, then it is doesn't matter what other people think or feel or say. When your faith is in him alone only then you can endure the rough climb upward on the long journey ahead of you, because you know what's waiting for you. Mary was blessed because she chose to believe what God had promised. That's an example of faith that you can follow. Believe God even when the road gets rough.


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