Journey to Bethlehem: December 12 - Word&Way

Journey to Bethlehem: December 12

Never Say Never on Your Journey

Today's Scripture: Isaiah 55:6-13

Kelly Malone is associate professor of intercultural studies at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Mo.

The ways of God are often far beyond our capacity to understand. My wife and I served as missionaries in Japan from 1992 to 2007. For most of those years, we lived in Kitakyushu, a city in southwestern Japan, where we taught at a Baptist college and ministered among the students and faculty. In 2002, we re-located to Tokyo, the largest metropolitan area in the world. We had always said, “We will never live in Tokyo.” In our minds, with more than 35 million people, Tokyo was too overwhelming!

I learned two things from this experience. First, we should never tell God never. God created us to serve him, and he does what he pleases with us. But he does this for our own good! Although Molly and I had never considered living in Tokyo, it proved to be a fantastic experience for our family, and we had five fruitful years of ministry there.

Second, God places us in situations we cannot handle in order to show what he can do. I grew up on a gravel road across from a wheat field in east Texas. The thought of a country boy living in the big city was like “Green Acres” in reverse. But I learned that God’s promise to Paul was true for me as well, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9a, NIV).

When the angel of the Lord told Mary, “You will give birth to God’s Son,” she experienced both God’s mysterious ways and his sustaining grace. Mary recognized that by saying yes to God, both she and the rest of humankind would be eternally blest.