December 05, 2014

The Trouble With Good News

Luke 1:26-33

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.
—Luke 1:29


Good news is not always convenient. The angel Gabriel visited Mary, saying, “Greetings, you who are highly favored!” But Mary seemed to know intuitively that these words might mean trouble. Mary was right. As a result of the angel’s message, she faced rumors of scandal and concern about her future marriage. Her pregnancy would not be easy to explain.

We often jump to the conclusion that being favored by God will lead to easy times. But the Bible shows many examples in which that is not the case. Moses followed God’s call and spent decades of hardship in the desert. David was God’s choice to be king, yet he spent many years running from enemies. Mary was called “favored,” but her life soon turned upside down with an unexplained pregnancy.

God’s plans are always good, but they are not always easy, and they can lead to frustration. Blessings often come with struggles and trials. Following God’s plans may get us involved with the messy results of people’s bad decisions and require more help than we can offer.

Our hope is that we trust in God even if his plans bring upset into our lives. Mary’s troubles became a blessing as she was used by God to play a key role in his kingdom. God can work to bring blessings despite our frustrations.

Father, give us the wisdom to recognize that our frustrations do not mean you are absent. Help us to recognize that you work in wonderful ways, even when we experience trouble. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Bill Sytsma

Bill Sytsma is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary (M.Div) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (D.Min). He is the author of the book Follow the Leader and is serving as the pastor of New Life Christian Reformed Church in Highland, Indiana. He and his wife, Staci, have hosted support groups for families built through adoption. He and Staci are the proud parents of three active boys: Luke, Isaac, and Nico.

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