Britisher Geoffrey T. Bull, missionary to Tibet, was cold, exhausted, and hungry. He had been seized by Communists following their takeover of in 1949, and his future was bleak. His captors drove him day and night across frozen mountains until he despaired of life. Late one afternoon, he staggered into a small village where he was given an upstairs room, swept clean and warmed by a small charcoal brazier.
After a meagre supper, he was sent downstairs to feed the horses. It was very dark and very cold. He clambered down the notched tree trunk to find himself in pitch- blackness. His boots squished in the manure and straw on the floor. The fetid smell of animals was nauseating. The horses sighed wearily, tails drooping, yet the missionary expected to be kicked any moment. Geoffrey, cold, weary, lonely, and ill, began to feel sorry for himself.
“Then as I continued to grope my way in the darkness,” he later wrote, “it suddenly flashed into my mind. What's today? I thought for a moment. In traveling, the days had become a little muddled in my mind. Suddenly it came to me. ‘It's Christmas Eve.’ I stood suddenly still in that Oriental manger. To think that my Saviour was born in a place like this. To think that He came all the way from heaven to some wretched eastern stable, and what is more to think that He came for me! How men beautify the cross and the crib, as if to hide the fact that at birth we resigned Him to the stench of beasts and at death exposed Him to the shame of rogues.
“I returned to the warm, clean room which I enjoyed even as a prisoner, bowed to thankfulness and worship."
No human born on earth have the choice to decide which place, time, family he or she should be born in to, because it is all pre-planned by God and executed by Him in His perfect timing. Only one person had the choice to decide his own birth place, time and family, it was Jesus who was God before He came to be born as a baby on earth (John 1:1-3). But Jesus did not choose to be born in a palace, but chose the humble manger in which even the poorest of the poor will not be born in to. Jesus chose this place, time, family to be born in to, to tell all the humans who suffer that He understands more than all what it is to to suffer on earth because of the curse of sin that has come upon the mankind because of their disobedience.
What can we learn from the above story of the missionary?
If we can look to Jesus in all our day to day suffering, all of our self pity will soon vanish as we see what kind of suffering our Master Jesus went through in His life just for the sake of redeeming us from sin. We have no reason to be unthankful at any time when we understand that Jesus set Himself as a example so that we can follow Him in our life, and be thankful and grateful for everything in our lives as He was for all things in his life towards God (1 Peter 2:21; John 17:25; 11:41; Matt 26:42). By accepting to suffer in the circumstances God has allowed us to go through in our lives, we will learn obedience toward God more and more, and thus glorify God in all things and will live pleasing to Him (Heb 5:7-9). We cannot suffer more than our Master Jesus, but can suffer like Him at the maximum, and so we must be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer and above all rejoice in our suffering, knowing that the Spirit of glory rests upon us and God gets glorified because of this reason (Matt 10:23-25; Rom 12:12; 5:3; 1 Peter 4:13-14, 16). We must positively choose to be bowed to God in thankfulness and worship God at all times and in all circumstances for the glory of God! No circumstances in our life can be too bad to stop being thankful, instead we should realize that God has allowed each circumstances of our life by His sovereign will and therefore we must learn to give in to His will and not resist it. We must also rejoice in the Lord always to maintain the consciousness of God's goodness towards us all the time which is a fact never changes.
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Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Oh So Lowly In A Manger!
The Oriental Manger