When most people read the biblical narrative of the birth of Christ, they see a perfect, holy family fulfilling God’s perfect plan.
When I read the biblical narrative of the birth of Jesus, I see a teenage girl who got pregnant and everyone thought the worst about her. Her own boyfriend assumed she’d been unfaithful. The gossip and public shame became so great the poor girl left town to visit her cousin. She stayed with her cousin three months.
An angel helped straighten things out between the engaged couple, but then they were called upon to travel several days to Bethlehem at the very time Mary was to give birth. They were poor and the town was full because of the census. They had to give birth in an unsanitary barn.
Then, to make matters worse, an angel told the young family to flee to Egypt because this newborn baby was on Israel’s Most Wanted List. King Herod had it out for the infant because the wise men recognized the baby as a king. Herod had to destroy any competition for his throne.
Because my perception of the Christmas story was so different from the ways others seemed to portray these events, I wanted to write a book demonstrating that just because we are chosen by God and fulfilling His plan, doesn’t mean things will be perfect and easy. Quite the contrary. God has chosen us to do difficult things, including sometimes bearing the hurt and shame associated with doing God’s will. Life will be inconvenient, such as having to flee in the middle of the night at God’s bidding. There will be scary moments such as death threats, undesirable circumstances such as delivering a baby in a barn, and more.
I have bipolar disorder and I’ve often heard Christians say or imply that somehow I’m out of God’s will. I’ve examined that idea for years now. It simply isn’t consistent with the biblical narratives. God doesn’t expect us to have perfect, well-ordered lives. He expects us to live in our broken, undesirable, and inconvenient lives by depending on Him to lead, guide, and restore, as He desires.
So I wrote Chosen to express the biblical concept that being in God’s will doesn’t mean we will be healthy, happy, and whole. Rather, God wants to work in the messy details of our lives to accomplish his will. The birth of Christ was a messy ordeal, but it all happened in God’s perfect plan and those messy details fulfilled multiple Old Testament prophecies predicting the birth of the Savior. Don’t let anyone shame you for being broken. Instead, let God fill your brokenness and keep following his lead.