Blog Post by Rodney A. Wilson
Rodney Wilson is a regular guest post writer on Selma on Leadership. Rodney has been a marriage and family pastor/counselor for almost 20 years. Rodney and Selma have been married for 40 years and they have spoken and written on marriage and family issues for most of their married life.
One of my favorite things about the Christmas story is that there are so many “players” God uses in the coming of His Son to earth. So many people and so many lessons we can learn from them.
At the risk of sounding irreverent, I like to call Mary’s fiancé Joe. What a place in history he had! What a predicament! How exasperating of a situation he found himself in! There are some valuable lessons we can take away from Joe’s part in the Christmas story.There are 3 valuable lessons we can take away from Joe’s part in the Christmas story. Click To Tweet
3 Lessons to Learn from Joe’s Christmas Experience:
1. Keep your faith. Everything is not always as it seems. Sometimes 2+2 just doesn’t equal 4. She’s not been with you, Joe, and she’s pregnant. Deduction: she’s been with someone else, right? As much of a slam dunk as that appears to be, not necessarily.
In the midst of embarrassment, confusion, and heartbreak, it is important to keep your faith. I’ve told many people in my counseling office 1) “None of what you are going through surprises God,” and 2) “Trust His words to us that He is working in it all for good for those who love Him” (Romans 8:28).
It’s what I would have counseled Joe. Did I know how it would work for good at that time? Of course not and yet God’s word is true. That’s where the faith comes in. When it doesn’t add up, trust Him anyway.
2. Don’t rush into reactive mode when hard news hits you. When he heard the news that Mary was expecting, Joe was on the verge of divorcing Mary (albeit quietly so as not to ridicule her). Today, many people do the same. When hard news falls upon them, they impulsively rush to “do something,” perhaps to attempt to regain control of the situation, often making matters worse.
Instead, when hard news hits your life, pause and absorb it. Let the dust settle. Breathe in and out. It’s a great time to seek the Lord. “God, I’m confused, scared, angry (whatever). I need your strength right now… strength to not react and do more damage out of emotion. I trust you but I need you now.”
3. If God has a message for you, He knows how clear He needs to make it for you to understand. God sent an angel to speak to Joe. Divorce between him and Mary before the marriage even got started was not in God’s plan, so He didn’t want Joe to miss the message. Further, Joe needed absolute proof that she had not been with anyone else to not divorce her. And he got his proof because God knew how clear He had to make it for Joe to understand. This message God had for Joe was so crucial it was angel-worthy.
An angel? Seriously? How radical was that God would use an angel to share such radical news to both Joe and Mary! Radical but beautiful news. Good news. (The gospel!)
Joe got his angel message – as loud and clear as Mary had received her angel message and the shepherds would receive theirs from the angel choir a few months later. Mary was still a virgin, all the way through the birth of Jesus and God would use both of them in the coming of the Christ child to earth.
And once he got his message, Joe moved forward with confidence, amidst the controversy, the rumors and the accusations that he was simply the “victim of an affair.” He had heard from the Lord and that was enough. This was a man who moved ahead in obedience.
So can we learn from Joe this Christmas season? Absolutely! No matter how difficult the news you receive or how unfair the curves life throws at us sometimes, let’s learn from Joe’s experience:
* Everything is not always as it appears.
* Don’t react too quickly. Rather, take your cares to the Lord as quickly as possible.
* Trust that God is working and if you need to be informed about what is going on, He is quite capable of making it crystal clear to you.