“You’ve stood where Joseph stood. Caught between what God says and what makes sense. You’ve done what he told you to do only to wonder if it was him speaking in the first place.” … “If you are asking what Joseph asked, let me urge you to do what Joseph did. Obey. That’s what he did. He obeyed. He obeyed when the angel called. He obeyed when Mary explained. He obeyed when God sent.”
Max Lucado from “Joseph’s Prayer” in The Heart of Christmas
Joseph is my favorite person in the Christmas narrative. To me, he represents the one who was called upon to exercise the most faith. I realize that all of the characters exercised faith, but Joseph's call was the most "unverifiable."
Mary not only knew that an angel had come, but she also knew that she really and truly had never been with a man. Yet she could feel the baby kicking in her womb. She had confirmation of the life growing and an absolutely clear conscience.
But Joseph... Joseph too had an encounter with an angel. But it was in a dream and maybe he was tempted to say his mind was playing tricks on him. He could see Mary growing "great with child" and he wanted to believe her, but it would have been so easy for him to doubt. After all, this had never happened before and could he be absolutely certain she had been faithful? I'm certain the villagers were of no help either. Shaking their heads and whispering "poor Joseph" behind his back or even more brazenly asking why he didn't "do something" about that bride-to-be of his. It would have been much to take.
But Scripture tells us that Joseph was a "good" man and he wanted to do what is right. He believed the angel and he acted in an upright manner. In other words, he demonstrated tremendous faith in action. In those few sentences of Scripture saying that he took Mary as his wife we find tremendous obedience. It would not be the last time he was asked to obey quickly when an angel came. His obedience to the next angel preserved the baby Jesus' life as they escaped to Egypt. In what seemed like impossible circumstances, Joseph simply chose to obey.
What about us? We rarely get visits from angels, but we do "hear" calls from God to take action. Sometimes they just don't make sense. Nearly three years ago, we began to understand that God was leading German to leave the company where he had worked almost nineteen years and "trust God" for the next job. It made no sense. You don't leave a reliable job, in a foreign-to-your-birth country without another job lined up. But we were certain that was the call. Via German's leadership, we obeyed. He resigned. He interviewed for a job and we were certain God was still leading. He worked out his six week's resignation, ending his career with that company on May 31. He started his new job on June 1! God was absolutely faithful! The leap from "obey" to "reward" seemed like an eternity; yet, we never missed a paycheck. Furthermore, the economy led to major changes in his previous company that would most likely have been devastating to us. God protected us from the future, but we were required to obey even when it made no sense and many people around us doubted that God would have asked us to do something so "risky."
Many of the times God asks us to obey when it does not make sense are not huge decisions. They are the simple decisions we make everyday that set us apart from the rest of society. He asks us to step out, to live differently, and to trust Him. If you believe God is leading, do what Joseph did....obey. The big picture may not come into focus immediately, but never doubt that God sees the big picture. Even if it doesn't make sense, even when you begin to hear voices that say "God wouldn't ask that," even when it gets difficult, just obey. The reward comes from obedience.
"If you love me, you will obey what I command."
Thank you for joining us this week for In Other Words! Please write your own reflection on today's quote, and then return and post your link so we can come visit you! God Bless you today and throughout this Holy Season!