Advent Devotional: Joy–Our Plans vs. God’s Way

Scripture: Romans 15:13 NRSV

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13 NRSV).

Christmas is a time of joy and thanksgiving for God’s sending His Son to be born as a baby to redeem mankind. His coming made an astounding difference to the world and to individuals that persists after 2,000 years. An angel of the Lord told the shepherds that first Christmas night, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people” (Luke 2:10). However, the joy the people living then expected was peace through freedom from Roman domination, brought by the Messiah. Instead, His coming left them in their same culture but offered an inner joy to those who believed His teaching about a new relationship with God, His Father. The joy of the Good News is God’s message of hope for this life on earth, and on through eternity. As our example, “Jesus…who for the sake of the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken His seat at the right hand of God” (Hebrews 12:2).

In our relationship with God, we often have our own ideas as to what God should do. God’s way often does not fit our assumptions. Joseph’s experiences certainly are not what he would have chosen (Genesis 37, 39, 40). However, Joseph tells his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good” (Genesis 50:20). When Gideon was called to battle the Midianites, he started with 32,000 men, but the Lord said, “You have too many men for me to deliver Midian into their hands” (Judges 7:2). Gideon ended up with 300 men and was victorious.

Ted and Gladys Sufferidge are natives of Kansas. They lived in Lexington for 46 years. Ted taught mathematics at the University of Kentucky for 44 years. They have four adult children.