Daily D – Matthew 2:13
After the wise men were gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up! Flee to Egypt with the child and his mother,” the angel said. “Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” MATTHEW 2:13 (NLT)
Just about the time Joseph, Mary, and Jesus were settling into their home far from their hometown, they had to leave. This meant a hasty journey into a foreign land, an alien culture, and all the challenges of starting over again.
Joseph did what he always did. He obeyed God immediately. Verse 14 says, “That night Joseph left for Egypt with the child and Mary, his mother, and they stayed there until Herod’s death.”
Obedience is a matter of agreeing with God. It acknowledges that he who created all things, who knows all things, and is everywhere we want to be, knows more, sees more, and provides more than we ever will or could. Yes, that awkward sentence can be simplified to say, Father Knows Best.
Disobedience, choosing my way rather than God’s way, would have been disastrous. How often I have stewed over a decision to do what I knew God wanted me to do. What unnecessary agony I put myself through.
Here is what I have learned: When God says “Move,” move. When God says “Stay,” stay. This relieves a great deal of anxiety and complication. When we learn to trust God’s heart even when we cannot trace his hand, we discover new mercy and new grace we otherwise would have missed.
“Where God guides, God provides,” the old preacher said. “Life is a daring adventure or nothing,” Helen Keller said. Joseph showed them that.
There is a roller coaster at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington called the Texas Titan. You can ride it virtually here: [https://bit.ly/2Jwt5Ea] I enjoy having ridden this ride several times. It was the third time in a row with our son when I decided I probably did not need to ride it again that day.
Waiting to ride the Titan gives a person time to build up some serious anxiety. It is amazing what all a person can imagine going wrong if he or she dares to climb into one of those cars with only a thin rail holding it from hurtling into space and crashing down to earth.
Stepping into the ride, a person feels the sheer terror of having almost nothing to hold onto for dear life. Climbing up, up, and up two hundred feet surrounded by nothing but air and scenery, a person’s heart pounds. Breathing shallows. Blood pressure mounts.
The ride reaches the top and begins creeping over and seemingly stalls for a moment or two. Then it drops at speeds reaching eighty-five miles per hour. Then it spins you round and round in circles. If a person does not scream or laugh or shout, he or she might pass out.
I say “a person” because I don’t want you to think I was talking about myself. I handled it just fine, thank you.
A slow climb. Not much to hang onto. A stall before a terrifyingly quick fall. Twisting, turning, lots of loud noises from everyone involved. A sudden stop. Yes, that is the Christmas story. Yes, that is life.
I wonder how Joseph and Mary felt when God said, “Go.” I wonder how they felt when God said, “Stay.” I wonder what I will think and feel the next time God tells me to do something specific. From Joseph’s example, I think the best thing you and I can say when God asks us to do something is, “Yes.” Everything is better when God is in charge.
I will say Yes to whatever God asks.
Our Father, I would like to make up my mind right now to say Yes to whatever you ask. I want to be like Joseph who obeyed you immediately. I do not want to consider my options. I do not want to seek alternatives. I want to go with you into what for me is unknown territory, but to you is as familiar as the back of my hand is to me. I trust that you will provide all I need as we go. I trust that your path is more adventurous and exciting than any I could plot. Here at the end of such a strange year, I look back in wonder. Here just before the beginning of a new year, I wonder. In this moment, and in all moments to come, lead me as I wander. Show me the way I should go. Nothing I imagine could be better than your reality. Amen.
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Psalm 139:17, 18 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!
2 Corinthians 5:1-5 For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 10:13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.