The God of Never Before

9:26 AMHeather

I pray that I never cease to be amazed by how we can glean fresh insight and new meaning from Scripture--that we always see it as a bottomless well of deep and rich insight to who God is.  This is what happened for me yesterday in life group as we studied Matthew 1 and Luke 1, looking at Joseph and Mary and their incredible story.  

I don't recall ever comparing and contrasting their stories quite like that--going back and forth between the two passages to see what the writers of each book had to say about the angel visitations and incredible events leading to Jesus' birth.  It was very enlightening to consider how these two teenagers responded to the news of prophecy being fulfilled and eternity changing occurences.

As I sat there soaking it all in, a thought occurred to me.  Joseph and Mary must have been stunned simply by the fact that God was telling them something was coming that had never happened before.  Never before had a virgin conceived.  Never before had an angel appeared to either Joseph or Mary.  As far as we know, never before had God so intimately intervened in the lives of these two devout Jewish teens.  They experienced God as never before while they received the news of what he was going to do that had never before happened.

While I have never seen an angel or been given such incredible news, I can tell you that God has and is asking me to step out into some places of "never before" in my life.  And, it's scary.  I rather like my comfort zone.  I like things to stay just the way they are.  And, I think I'd be much more inclined to obey without digging my heels in if Gabriel himself would just show up for a chat in order to shed some light on these callings for me.  

Can you relate?  Has God asked YOU to step out and follow Him into some "never befores"--some seemingly impossible steps of faith?  Has He asked you to walk the road of illness or suffering, trusting Him to guide, protect and strengthen you?  Has He asked you to parent a child with special needs--or a child who is complicated and challenging to parent?  Has He asked you to endure a tough relationship?  Or a heartbreak?  Or a loss?  Maybe He has an exciting never before for you, that both thrills and terrifies you.  Do you stand on the edge of unchartered territory, feeling as though you might consider stepping forth if only a map were provided?

INTENTIONAL challenge:  I tend to think of Joseph and Mary as these Spiritual giants full of wisdom and super powers.  The truth is--they were filled with super powers.  They were filled with the strength and power of the Almighty God.  That is where they found the courage to step out into the "never before."  I'd venture to guess that they were really much more like me than I'd ever imagine--full of doubts, fears, angst, and uncertainty.  Even with an angelic visit.  We are so limited in our own human flesh, our own human imagination.  But, we serve an unlimited and imaginative God.  A God of the never befores.  He wants to do a new work and reveal Himself in new ways.  He wants to reach from the heavens and take us where we've never been or imagined we could go.  He wants to draw us into deeper fellowship in these journeys, longing for us to press into Him in our desperation so that He can serve as our tour guide and refuge.  If you are in the midst of "never befores"--rest assured that you serve a God of never befores.  It's His specialty.  And in all your uncertainty, you can hang every fear and hope on the fact that He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

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