Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Do Not Fear

Today's passage is Matthew 1:18-25.

Yesterday I talked about Mary and how much I love her. Today, I want to talk about her love, Joseph. I love him so much too! In his time and culture, if his virgin fiancĂ© turned up pregnant, it would've been completely justifiable to break off their engagement and run for the hills. In fact, it would've been encouraged. Sex outside of marriage was absolutely unthinkable for religious and respectable people like them. And the fact that he wasn't the father? Anyone would've told Joseph to drop that harlot like a bad habit.

Imagine the fury and betrayal Joseph must've felt. He hadn't even had a chance to be with her, but some other dude did. Imagine how his world came crashing down around him. Imagine the two of them standing there silently facing each other with this heartbreaking news. Imagine the hot tears that were shed both out of anger and sorrow. Imagine what it was like when she wasn't begging for forgiveness. Imagine the feeling that came over him when she begged for the chance to explain. How can you "explain" pain like this away? And then she tried to turn her unfaithfulness into a faith issue? He had to be thinking "Is she crazy? Has she lost her mind?"

Joseph could've humiliated her. A lot of people would've. They would want to make themselves feel better by making her suffer. He could've pulled a male version of a Miranda Lambert song, but he chose to quietly leave her in order to spare her any additional pain. Good guy, that Joseph.

And then the angel appeared to him in a dream and said "Do not fear" {Matthew 1:20}. The angel said the same thing to Mary {Luke 1:30}. And the angel said the same thing to Zechariah {Luke 1:13}.

Do you ever look around at your life and wonder how you got here? Lordamercy I have. This has the toughest year of my life. It has been the lowest of valleys, the depths of which are beyond description. If breathing were a voluntary action, I would be in serious trouble because I'm drowning. It has taken everything in me to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I could really use an angel to appear to me and say "Sara, do not fear". It would be just the cherry on top of the cake if the angel could throw in some sage advice for where my life is going to go. All week I've been wondering where I can place an order for one of those…

And then it dawned on me. This bold message of courage wasn't just for them. God wouldn't choose fear for us. Fear is rooted in the belief that God is far away from us: distant, busy, unreachable, unavailable. He isn't! 

"And they shall call Him Immanuel (which means God is with us)" {Matthew 1:23b}.

He is right here with us. He is with us on the highest peaks and in the deepest depths. Do not fear. Do not be afraid.

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