“When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.” Matthew 11:24 NIV
Like everybody who says “yes” to God, Joseph could not begin to comprehend the implications of such a divinely inspired decision. Unknowingly he was signing up to embark on a sacred journey of trust into uncharted territory. As with Bilbo Baggins answering Gandolf’s invitation in The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey, it would take Joseph places he could never have imagined going, both in the natural and more importantly within his own soul. Had he or Bilbo known what the journey held in store, they would probably have stuck with their initial “No.”
Joseph’s acquiescence must have led to great anticipation as he and Mary settled into life together in his home and prepared for the birth of the child. Undoubtedly he was breathing a sigh of relief thinking the “big” decision was now behind him. He was surely enjoying the new found sense of peace and freedom from the recriminations of initially feeling betrayed by Mary.
Answering God’s call ultimately bids us to venture beyond the comforts and predictability of home. And unlike Lot’s wife we had best accept that eventuality right now; as there is no profit in lingering or looking back. Unbeknownst to Joseph, nearly 1500 miles away in Rome, a decree was being issued that would subsequently make its way by courier to his little village of Nazareth at the far eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea. That decree, issued by a man but ordained by God, would require Joseph and his wife Mary to leave the familiarity of home for what they thought was a short term 100 mile journey to Bethlehem to register in the worldwide census. Little did they know that their journey would take them further beyond their comfort zone than they bargained for, on a 750 mile round trip that would take years to complete.
The only capital required for a journey with God is trust. Trust is both a noun and a verb. It is something we can possess, but it is also something that we must do. It is an action word conveying reliance upon or confidence in someone, and in this case that someone is God. Trust is build like a house, piece by piece. Step by step, from rejection at the inn to a stall in a stable, from a midnight warning to flee to Egypt to God’s provision through the Magi. Joseph was learning to rely upon and trust God as never before. And Mary was learning to trust Joseph.
Joseph’s journey is a metaphor for our journey with God. There is no path when one journeys with God. The path is made by taking steps of faith with no charts or maps, no GPS or soothing voice coming from the dashboard. The path has unexpected twists and turns. Waypoints seldom match our expectations. We simply cannot rely upon our own understanding. There is opposition both within and without to God’s unfolding will. And yet as we acknowledge God and learn to trust His good intentions for our lives we progress. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Is there a journey of trust God has you on? Can you confess that God is faithful even though it is not going the way you thought it would? What have you learned in hind sight about trusting God that can help you face the future?
For more on Joseph’s journey click here for a message entitled the Gift of Trust on this topic.
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