Sunday, June 23, 2013

To Trust Like Joseph

Have you ever had a moment in life where you felt you were being lead by the Lord to do something, or that he allowed something to happen in a situation, that you just didn't understand? 

And then after a period of time, you were able to see the situation with more clarity because He made something new apparent to you? (Or perhaps you are still in the questioning phase!)

I've had those moments, the ones where I'm asking, "What now, Lord? We felt lead to this but now the next step is unclear."

This morning I was reading in Matthew 2. It's kind of a timeline of the different long-distance moves Jesus' family made when he was young in order to escape King Herod and his death wish for the little boy who threatened his crown. 

The trust that Joseph, Jesus' father, displays is amazing to me. He is told in a dream by an angel of the Lord to take his family to Egypt. He trusts God's leading, packs up his family, and leaves Israel.

After a time, an angel of the Lord again appears to Joseph in a dream and tells him to go back to Israel because King Herod is dead. Apparently, the coast is clear. 

I guess that's the extent of his dream's details because he packs up again and heads back to Judea in Israel, only to find that Herod's son is now reigning and with similar cruelty as his father.

The Bible says Joseph was afraid to go there when he learned this news (understandable), and being warned in another dream, he withdrew to and settled in the small town of Nazareth (another region in Israel), thus fulfilling the prophecy that Jesus will be "called a Nazarene."

I usually want to know the next five steps ahead, instead of trusting God with just the one in which he has directed me. Joseph's son's life is on the line here, yet he is not given the full picture of what he needs to do to reach safety until he has already stepped forward in faith, trusting the leading of the Lord to be true. It's not until he is obedient in the first step of faith that God reveals that will happen next.

This is so comforting to me. It's not a hard and fast rule about the way God always works, but I have often experienced God's guidance in this way. I've learned over and over that His vision is so much greater than mine, yet I tend to forget that when I'm in the moment when things feel uncertain. My prayer today is that I will trust God even when I lack full clarity.


(P.S. After I read this story, I was recounting a kid version to the boys over breakfast. Caedmon was really fixated on the bad guy, as most three year old boys usually are, and wanted to know exactly how he died. He suspects God sent a fire-breathing dragon, and isn't really being convinced otherwise. )