The Christmas rush has ended. My kids have returned to their homes. The local Christian radio station has returned to its regular playlists. And I’m returning to my routine.
I find a strange sort of comfort in routine. Perhaps it’s because “routine” equals “known.” It brings no surprises. It throws nothing unexpected at me. It demands nothing extraordinary of me. My strength, my skills, and my smarts are sufficient.
Imagine, then, how Mary must have felt when Gabriel interrupted her routine one day. “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!” he said (Luke 1:28). The message he delivered ripped routine’s safety net from Mary’s life and left her feeling confused and disturbed (v. 29). But not for long.
Gabriel reminded Mary that the God she served was the God of the impossible and His presence was with her. That reassurance, combined with the relationship she already enjoyed with God, gave her the courage to kiss routine goodbye and embrace a faith-adventure that she never would have chosen on her own.
We stand on the brink of a new year. What will 2016 bring? We might have hunches or hopes, but we really have no clue. Who says something similar couldn’t happen to us?
It’s possible that God will interrupt our comfortable routine with a call to a task that feels too big. It’s possible that He’ll shake up our routine with an unexpected change of plans—a medical diagnosis, a loss, marriage, the birth of a child, or a move. He might even break our routine by challenging us to learn something new—take a course, expand our horizons. Suddenly our strength, skills, and smarts are no longer sufficient, and we find the new prospect rather scary.
What to do? First, remember that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The God who interrupted Mary’s routine and invited her to participate in His eternal purposes is the same God we serve today, and He’s the God for whom nothing is impossible. Next, respond as Mary did—“I am the Lord’s servant, and I am willing to accept whatever he wants.”
I enter 2016 with expectancy. How might God choose to use me in new ways? And how might He interrupt my safe and comfortable routine to accomplish His purposes? I hope you view 2016 in a similar way. Let’s share the journey together, okay?