What do you have planned for 2017? I don’t need to be a prophet to inform you that things probably won’t turn out as you expect. Whatever it is that you have planned, you are likely to run into frustrations and complications along the way. C’est la vie!
When Mary and Joseph had to pack up their things in the middle of the night and hot-foot it to Egypt, it was not the first time that one of God’s chosen servants had made an unwanted detour to the Kingdom of the Nile. Centuries earlier, Abraham had to leave the land that God had called him to, forced out by famine (Genesis 12). Abraham’s great grandson, Joseph, who had been born to inherit Abraham’s vast wealth, got unceremoniously bundled off to Egypt when his brothers sold him into slavery. Two centuries later, Moses escaped from Egypt, only for God to send him back there to engage in a long and frustrating tussle with Pharaoh.
In the Bible’s story, Egypt repeatedly stands out as a place of unwanted delay and frustration. When St Matthew recorded Jesus’ impromptu visit there as a young child, he paused to observe how appropriate it was that God’s son should suffer a similar frustration to his famous ancestors.
It is, it seems, quite normal for God’s people to suffer detours, delays and frustrations. So, if these things come your way during 2017, don’t overly panic, just remember that it may be your turn to take a trip to ‘Egypt’.