Behold an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20-21)
that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence
Mary is kind, gentle and pure.
No thoughts of deceit, that’s why I chose her.
But, when she told me what she’d heard and seen,
the story was really too amazing to believe:
that God was going to send His Son
to be born of a woman, and she was the one?
Betrothed to be married, but now with child,
She would be accused, the baby reviled.
Then in a dream the angel came to me, too
with a message that all Mary said was true.
God’s only Son was growing in her womb
and I was blessed to raise Him as my own.
A carpenter by trade, a simple life to trod,
how can I be father to the Son of God?
I’ll make her my wife, the one you have given.
I’ll embrace this child of grace, this tiny view of heaven.
I’ll trust You to be faithful in spite of such a scandal.
I know you won’t give us more than we can handle.
Lord, I believe even though I can’t see.
Your word is enough, whatever the end will be.
Since my children were born, we’ve been on the continual mission of teaching them to obey. As the boys are growing older, they are learning more and more about playing together, sharing, and taking turns–habits hard to master even for adults sometimes. One of our challenges is to teach them to let Mommy and Daddy handle the moments of conflict, rather than giving in to whining, angry outbursts or tussling over toys. The learning steps along the way reiterate how important fairness is, how important it is to carefully hold the wishes and desires of each child equally, and how easy it would be to instill jealousy and a competitive spirit without even realizing it. I’m reminded that obedience is so much easier when you trust the one you’re asked to obey.
It’s amazing to think of how courageous Joseph was to accept the calling God had for him, taking on the challenge of a scandalous marriage and child–not to mention the daunting task of being a surrogate father to God’s son. Although we don’t know much about him, he was obviously a man of action. There was no wavering in his commitment to obey God. We can see it in his willingness to take Mary as his wife after the angel’s visit, despite what I’m sure the “neighbors” would say. The neighbors weren’t privy to an angel message. Joseph was willing to have them think ill of him, to accuse him of wrong, to whisper behind his back. His faith was so deep that he was willing to lose his reputation to obey. He didn’t need to justify his own innocence. He didn’t need to disavow the rumors. He was able to trust that God’s path was leading somewhere worthy, no matter how incredulous it seemed. It’s a stark contrast to the appearance-focused culture we live in, where every hint of opposition or unpopularity must be assuaged. Where every out-of-vogue, politically incorrect gesture must be decried. Where every decision must be weighed against the opinion of those speaking the loudest. For Joseph, it was enough that God approved his task.