Monday, December 19, 2011

Life's Inconveniences

Only a few more gift cards to buy. Only a few days left to get them. But one of the gift cards I need to track down is from a store several miles across town. With a busy week ahead, imagine my exasperation when I realized I had a slow leak in my tire. Sure enough, the small head of a nail was peeking out at me from in between the tire treads. Talk about inconvenient!

Within a couple hours the tire shop had my tire patched. And at no cost to me! Yes, some things are still free! My slight inconvenience paled in comparison to that of some people from long ago...

The government was the cause of their inconvenience. Caesar Augustus had issued a decree that everyone would be taxed. Not only was there a tax to be paid, but everyone had to return to their home town in order to make their payment. No mailboxes in those days. No ifs, ands, or buts, the tax had to be paid in person, period. Major inconvenience for most of the townspeople of Nazareth, but for Joseph, he had the added inconvenience of a pregnant wife. Mary was nearing the end of her pregnancy and would find it difficult to travel the long distance to Bethlehem. Despite their less than desirable situation, Joseph and Mary headed on their way.

I can only imagine how many stops the couple must have made between Nazareth and Bethlehem. Maybe ten stops or more a day? And this journey was not for the faint of heart. Given Mary's pregnancy, it could easily have been a week's journey. And think about the mode of transportation. Probably a donkey for Mary, while Joseph led the way on foot. Mary couldn't have been comfortable! When I compare the rough back of an animal to the plush, heated seats of my car, I have to laugh. And vow never to complain on a long road trip again!

I remember the comfort of my own bed the night before my scheduled C-section. And the confidence I had in the team of doctors at the hospital. Mary didn't have that luxury. No familiar surroundings greeted her as she went into labor. No sterile environment, or medications to ease her pain. Not even a room in an inn. Just the sounds and smells of common animals, and a feeding trough that would have to double as a bed for their baby. "And she brought forth her first born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn," (Luke 2:7; KJV).

It would have been so much more convenient for Mary to stay behind in Nazareth. And being nearly nine months pregnant, no one would have blamed her. No doubt they didn't welcome the difficulties, but it seems like Mary and Joseph realized there was more to life than seeking personal convenience. Through their obedience, the scriptures were fulfilled, "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting,"(Micah 5:2).

Next time I'm tempted to complain about life's inconveniences, remembering Mary and Joseph's trials will prompt me to be thankful instead!

Do you complain when you're faced with inconveniences? What could you do today to be more thankful? 

Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank You for both the trials and blessings You allow in my life. Thank You for reminding me of the difficulties others faced - and how they choose to be obedient to You. Help me to praise You for Your goodness instead of complaining of any inconveniences. In Jesus' name, Amen.


  1. Start counting my blessings! What a great reminder to focus on the important things, Maria. And when you look around yourself with eyes focused in the right places you see there are many, many blessings to count:)

  2. I came out of Sam's Club last week on a work errand to find - a flat tire! It could have been much more of an inconvenience, but since 1. I knew the tire needed replaced anyway, 2. I was at a store THAT SOLD TIRES, not driving the 25 miles home later that night, and 3. I happened to have the extra funds for two new tires (which is not always the case) I tried to keep it all in perspective. Unfortunately, I'm not always so upbeat! I think Susan is right - we have to count our blessings and keep our focus on Him.

  3. Beautiful post. Oh, how life's little inconveniences quickly try our patience. You are so right - Mary had plenty of "inconveniences" to deal with. It really makes us rethink our own "delays" when standing in long lines in stores to buy more stuff.

  4. My car wouldn't start yesterday when I emerged from a store. An appointment was cancelled, and I was not a happy camper.

    Yet, I was able to call AAA. My car was parked in the lot away from traffic. As I began to reflect on these facts, my mood improved.

    Our inconveniences pale when we look at what Mary and Joseph went through.

  5. Susan - Great to see you! Yes, remembering to be thankful goes a long way to keeping the proper perspective. The Lord has blessed me in so many ways - counting those blessings helps me stop taking things for granted. Have a beautiful day and a very merry Christmas!

  6. Melissa - Thanks for your encouraging comment! What an awesome, real-life, example of looking at an inconvenient situation and making the best of it! So glad you didn't get a flat tire on the highway...and how amazing that you even had the money for 2 new tires! Appreciate you sharing your story, my friend! Have a blessed Christmas!

  7. Denise - Wonderful to have you stop by! Your final sentence reminded me of the Christmas song by Amy Grant, that talks about needing a silent night and a break from the chaos and the noise! I can definitely relate! I'm sitting at the car delearship waiting on an oil change as I type this response to your comment - just raring to get the final shopping done as soon as my car is ready! Hope you have a blessed Christmas!

  8. Susan R. - Thanks for stopping by! Glad to hear everything worked out for you when your car wouldn't start. It's always hard at the time, but sounds like you were able to work through your 'inconvenience' and even be thankful that it wasn't worse! You're an inspiration! I'm learning more and more that our thinking is critically important! Have a beautiful Christmas, my friend!