How far are you willing to go for what you believe? Sometimes our faith is tested in such a way that we actually stop expecting in a promise because it is easier to give up than to exercise faith in the face of ridicule or disappointment. As we move into the Christmas season, let us consider how difficult it must have been for Joseph to remain faithful in spite of some strange events that surrounded him.
Matthew 1:18 “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. 20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. 22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. 24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: 25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus.”
Joseph was a righteous man who tried to do the right thing in the right way. He did not want to publicly humiliate Mary or have her stoned, so he was willing to divorce her privately. After all, to the world this would seem like a no-brainer when it concerned a woman carrying someone else’s child! The mind-boggling issue here was that this child was the Son of God — God was the Father! What a major test of faith to accept what was spoken by the angel and take Mary as his wife. His willingness to obey in spite of what others may have thought just goes to prove he was the right choice to be the earthly father of Jesus.
Natural feelings are not always an accurate meter for what is right or wrong. We must be determined to “do” the will of God and not just expect it to “feel” like the right thing to do. After all, the thing that feels the most right may not be the best decision to make! Early on, it looked like Joseph had two choices. He could divorce her quietly or even have her stoned for this apparent unfaithfulness. The Lord gave Joseph a third option — to marry her and not to worry about taking her as his wife. Wow, that could not have been easy, but Joseph was willing to do whatever necessary to follow God’s plan.
How far are we willing to go in our faith when it comes to the public’s perception? Do we change our beliefs based on what others will say? Are we worried people will look at us funny for praying, asking the blessing before a meal, or taking a stand for Christian values? I encourage you today to stay strong in your faith. Miracles are often preceded by faith trials, so giving up is not option if you want to witness the power of God break forth in the midst of your unfavorable circumstances! Always be mindful of Who you serve and the amazing things He is capable of doing in your life!
I pray, ”Father, forgive me when I allow the opinions of others to dampen my joy. You have provided everything for me through Your Son, Jesus. Let me this day share your joy and peace as I am reminded of how powerful You are. Guide my steps and give me strength in the face of adversity. In Jesus’ name I ask, amen.”
Rev. Cathleen N. Cathcart is pastor of New Life Worship Center in Spartanburg.