"In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register" (Luke 2:1-3).
Ezekiel and Elizabeth were an elderly couple living in Cana during the days of Caesar Augustus. Ezekiel suffered from severe arthritis, while Elizabeth dealt with glaucoma and a weak immune system. When the news came to them that they would be required to travel to Jerusalem, the home of Ezekiel's ancestors, for the census instituted by Caesar, the couple had questions.
How could they make such a long trip in their condition?
Didn't God know how difficult the trip would be for them?
Why would the Lord allow the pagan emperor to cause such problems in their lives?
Didn't God care about them?
Ezekiel and Elizabeth did not know what was going on behind the scenes in their lives. The Lord was working through a pagan emperor to position Joseph and Mary in Bethlehem so that Micah's prophecy about the Messiah being born in that small town would be fulfilled. They did not realize that something far more important than their inconvenience was at stake. They did not recognize that the salvation of many people was at stake. From their perspective, the universe revolved around themselves. They could not figure out the will of God in their situation.
I heard Haddon Robinson tell a similar fictional story nearly two months ago, and it made me think about my life. Like Ezekiel and Elizabeth, I'm not that important to the larger story of what God is doing in this world. Like them, I have my part to play. I am here to honor God in my thoughts, attitudes, and actions. I am here to faithfully love my Savior and those around me. I am here to share my faith and hope in Christ with others. I am here to serve with contentment and thankfulness.
But, the story does not revolve around me. I am not a central figure in the story. I am not likely to be mentioned in a book about Christian history. I may not even be mentioned in the footnotes of the history of my local church. I do not know how God is working most of the time. I do not know how he used the ice storm last week. I do not know how he is using the current economic crisis. I do not even know how he is using me most of the time. Most things in life are beyond my abilities to perceive accurately.
However, I have learned to trust the message of the Bible. God is good, and he is in control. I do not need to know everything about how he is working in this world. I do not need to play a central role in the program. I do not need to be the center of attention. I simply need to trust Christ, realize that he is the central figure in the story, do what God expects of me, and understand that I'm not that important.