When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a Son. And he called His Name Jesus. (Matthew 1:24-25)
I really admire Joseph. What courage he had, to simply wake up and go finalize the marriage, bringing his wife home—all on the basis of a dream. Mary and Zechariah both had the benefit of a face-to-face meeting with a real live angel. Joseph? Well, like his Old Testament namesake, he got his instructions in dreams.
I think that most of us are a lot more like Joseph than like Mary in this. God speaks to us in less flamboyant ways—through the Bible, through prayer, through consultation with wise Christian friends. God makes Himself known, but He does it in ways that are easier to mistake.
And we worry about that, don't we? What if I get it wrong? What if I think God wants me to do something, and later on it turns into a disaster? We fret and worry, as if knowing God's will were some sort of test we could score an F on—as if we could fail, and disappoint God. Sometimes that worries us more than the actual outcome of the decision!
But that is not the case. Because of our Savior Jesus, we are now God's beloved children. We are very dear to Him-so dear that He lay down His own life for us!—and He is certainly not looking to set traps for us. As King David wrote, "As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust" (Psalm 103:13-14).
There is no chance that the same God who became a human baby out of love for us would be looking for things to blame us for. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we will make the best decisions we can; and if things go badly (and face it, don't they often?), we will know that God is still with us, and we are still His children. After all, He is Immanuel; He is "God with us."
THE PRAYER: Lord, You know that I get confused easily. Guide me, and help me to trust in You when I am nervous and afraid. Amen.
* Are you afraid to make mistakes? Why or why not?
* Can something "go wrong" from a human point of view and still be used in God's plans?
* If you are willing, tell about a time when you got something wrong (or thought you had) and still found love and acceptance from another person.
Advent Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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