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)
Think about how Joseph's life was changed when he woke up. The day before, he had been planning a wedding—to be followed by living with a wife and children, maybe a small home, a carpentry shop, grandchildren—a quiet, ordinary life until the day he died. Not a bad life. A peaceful, blessed life.
But now, Joseph is a man with a mission: take care of God's own incarnate Son. Protect Him and His mother. Guard them from gossip and public shame. Provide for their needs, even when labor starts far away from home. Outwit an evil king. Find a way to support them in faraway Egypt, living as refugees. And then slowly, carefully, quietly, reinsert the family into Galilee again—making no noise, attracting no enemies—and go on raising the Messiah in a forgotten backwater of the Roman Empire. You don't ask much, do You, God?
I doubt Joseph would have complained, if we could ask him. Hard as his new life was, he got one thing of incomparable value out of it—Jesus, God's Son and his Savior. And that's what we get when God rearranges our lives for us, too. They may be hard; they may involve suffering and losses or frustrations we never imagined. But with it all, we have Jesus. Jesus never leaves us alone, no matter how hard it gets. He walks with us and picks us up when we fall. And He does it with nail-scarred hands—hands that remind us always of how much He loves us, enough to die and rise for us. It is enough.
THE PRAYER: Lord, when You rearrange my life, help me to trust in You. Amen.
* When has God rearranged your life in a way you didn't expect?
* What was your emotional reaction to the change?
* How has God helped you deal with it ever since?
Advent Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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