READ: Matthew 2:1-18
REFLECT: Did you ever question God’s timing? My friend, Margie, recently passed out. An ambulance rushed her to the hospital. After a week in the hospital, she was transported to a rehab facility. When she was finally released, Margie shared with me her best moment in her recovery.
HER DISRUPTED LIFE
At the nursing home/rehab facility was scheduled an afternoon Bible Study. Patients were wheeled into a room where they waited and waited some more. No teacher arrived. Finally, someone said, “I guess we have to cancel; we don’t have a preacher.” Prompted by the Holy Spirit, Margie piped up and said, “I can do it.”
Margie proceeded to not only share how she came to Christ (which had been during the Advent season many years ago) but also shared with them the real message of hope in Jesus Christ. Many of her fellow patients were living the holidays warehoused and forgotten. God maneuvered the dynamics in that meeting room so Margie could tell them about eternal hope possible through Jesus Christ. Margie’s gameplan for December had not been to have her life disrupted by the hospital stay and then the rehab facility, but God had other plans and they were good.
PLAYING THE LONG GAME
I have not always appreciated the fact that God “takes actions in the present with the aim of yielding desired results in the future”. That’s what it means when people reference God “playing the long game”. God played the long game with Margie. God’s brilliant half-time show was to get Margie in to share with the patients in the rehab unit.
Matthew 2 introduces us to a mass murderer, King Herod. He was responsible for the deaths of his wife, 3 sons, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, and uncle. The emperor Augustus popularized the saying, “Better to be Herod’s pig than his son.” The birth of the promised Messiah threatened everything that Herod ever loved = himself. The arrival of the Magi must have seemed to him a stroke of luck – Herod would be able to discover the location of this new threat to his power and eliminate the competition. He didn’t realize He was battling the God who plays the long game.
GOD’S LONG GAME
God’s hands are all over the Advent story. Good News of Great Joy says He guided “foreigners to Christ to worship him. God exerted global—probably even universal—influence and power to get it done. Matthew records God moving the stars in the sky to get foreign magi to Bethlehem so that they could worship the Christ. This is God’s design. His aim is that the nations—all the nations (Matthew 24:14)—worship his Son.” That was and is God’s long game. God has always had good plans, regardless of Herod’s execution of the infants in Matthew 2. God worked, even in the presence of evil.
Margie’s never longed to stay at a rehab facility. However, God gave her the privilege of inviting forgotten people to know the Savior. While Satan plays a short game of destruction, God plays the long game of redemption. That’s Who God is, even when we can’t see it. God has good plans. It’s your choice in who you place or do not place your trust.