Matthew 1:18-21, Luke 1:26-27
Even though, as believers, our very existence relies wholly on the foundation of faith itself, when we’re faced with a challenge or situation that requires the blind use of that faith, how many times do we waver? The questions overcome us, our mind reels, our heartbeats hammer, and we struggle to swim our way back to shore where everything we have known and believed is waiting.
In the decades since I took a knee and received Christ into my heart, Mary’s then-fiancé Joseph has been a consistent object of study for me. I’ve often gone back and marveled at the seemingly insurmountable odds this poor guy faced when his virginal girlfriend revealed—before the wedding—that she was pregnant. Since he’d followed all the rules and respectfully abstained from relations with this young girl he had come to love, his poor heart must have quaked within him at the news. Like any of us would likely consider, Matthew’s account of Joseph’s story includes the decision to quietly end the engagement and move on with his life.
And that’s when it happened! An angel of the Lord appeared to him—which was unexpected enough, right?—and proceeded to tell him that Mary’s story about the Holy Spirit implanting the seed of the Savior they’d all been awaiting was the truth! Can you imagine his initial reaction?
I don’t know about you, but personally … I might still have balked. Chalked it up to the Mexican food too close to bedtime, or a bad dream that simply seemed all too real. I think we humans tend to instinctively turn to logic first in times like those; a sensible way to explain the unexplainable. Until the engine of the faith that keeps our gears turning kicks in and reminds us that believing isn’t dependent upon seeing.
As Joseph followed the will of God, I can only imagine how many times a day he had to remind himself of his mission, of this higher calling Jehovah God had assigned just to him.
- Marry the girl. Check.
- Keep her and her growing belly safe. Check.
- Head out to another location at a moment’s notice from God. Check.
- Migrate back home when the time is right. Check again.
Despite the fact that very little is known about Joseph except for his role in laying the initial groundwork for Jesus’s birth and subsequent ministry, this amazing man of God teaches us so much about the importance of keeping the faith in the face of very difficult times. At each phase of his pursuit, Joseph was required to keep his spiritual ears clean and attuned to the roadmap laid out for him. What a perfect picture-type of keeping our own spiritual walks on track.
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Discuss: What are you facing today? Does your circumstance have you feeling ill-equipped? Disabled? Overwhelmed? Joseph’s example tells us that, in times like these, our first response has to be turning back to what God communicated to us last and follow it with determined tunnel vision. His love for us will surely do the rest.
Pray: Father, rejuvenate the seeds of Joseph’s kind of faith inside us. Let your voice speak loudly and clearly as we face down the challenges of the day, and help us through the power of your Holy Spirit to keep tunnel vision focus on you and your will for our lives. May your plans for our ultimate function within the body of Christ never be dismantled because of our own logic and reason.