December 11, 2018
"But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.'" Matthew 1:20 (NIV)
It was beyond unfortunate, but I had resolved to do the right thing.
Two wonderful opportunities had come my way. The problem was ... they both came at the same time. God, why would you allow this to happen? I have waited so long. I just don't get it! I had waited years to receive these offers, but since they would each require exorbitant effort, it was clear to me exactly what I needed to do. I had to say no to one.
Heading to my desk to write the declination, I sensed in my heart, "You didn't ask Me." It was true; I had not taken the time to talk to the Lord.
But why pray if I already knew the answer?
I wonder if Joseph thought the same thing when he found out Mary, the one he was pledged to marry, was pregnant. Matthew 1:19 tells us, "Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly" (NIV). Joseph thought it over, and according to their law, this was the best way to handle the sticky situation.
Then ... his plans were interrupted. "But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit'" (Matthew 1:20). Apparently, Joseph had not acted immediately upon his impulse, but had created time and space in his life to hear from God.
Through the angel's message, Joseph discovered things were not really as they appeared! Though others would not understand the why behind his decision, Joseph would keep moving forward and make Mary his wife.
Would others think his choice didn't make sense? Absolutely. Yet Joseph knew something they did not: This baby growing in Mary was part of God's miraculous plan. The Son of God was coming to save us from our sin. So despite whatever fears Joseph may have felt, he chose to trust God's plan.
Can you recall a time when you, too, sensed a move God wanted you to make, but it didn't make sense to others, or maybe it didn't even make sense to you?
Yet, you trusted God knew what He was doing. Now you look back and see God's faithfulness to help you as you took one right step after another. Which is not unlike Joseph and Mary's steps to Bethlehem. Did they get it? No, they probably didn't understand all of God's plan, yet they chose to go the way He had revealed so far.
Unlike Joseph, I didn't have an angel show up, revealing to me what God's next steps were for my life. Yet when I prayed and read God's Word, looking for His direction, He made it clear. He had, in fact, given me the two opportunities simultaneously. He also made it clear He would be, to me, the God of endurance and encouragement. (Romans 15:5) He would empower me to do what I couldn't do on my own ... and He did!
These stories in our lives, history of God's faithfulness to us, nudge us to believe again and again. Things are not always the way they seem. Recalling God's faithfulness in our past fuels our faith for our future.
Dear Jesus, may I consider the things in my life through the lens of You being my God and Father. Empower me to move forward in my life after consulting and hearing from You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 91:15, "He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him." (NIV)
Seeing God's faithfulness in the lives of people in the Bible also fuels our faith for our future. Get Lynn Cowell's Bible study for your New Year's study, Make Your Move: Finding Unshakable Confidence Despite Your Fears and Failures!
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Create some time and space in your life to hear from God. Begin by making a list of the times when you have seen God's faithfulness.
Taking the list, type or write it out on pretty paper and keep it where you can recall often God's faithfulness in your life.
When have you seen God's faithfulness in your life? Join the conversation in today's comments section!
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