I’m in a place now that I never had in mind for myself. I sought it because it was one of few options that seemed open to pursuing and attaining, even though none of those options fit what I had in mind for myself either.
Although where I am isn’t what I had in my mind for myself, God either allowed or directly caused this place for me so I need to grow in and be content with it. Truly God is with me here in this place.
The actual place I’m referencing doesn’t really matter. Perhaps you find yourself in such a place as well. Could be a relational crisis or an injury or illness or dealing with a tragic loss. Could be financial stress or unemployment or unfit employment or having to take an undesirable action because it seemed the best action to take for the situation you faced.
Sometimes the only options available seem ill-fitting to me and you but still “just-right” in the greater scheme of God’s purposes for us.
Imagine having this beautiful plan for the rest of your life that is suddenly botched by circumstances outside your control. Like discovering your fiance’ is pregnant. Then she claims she’s still a virgin and that God caused her pregnancy.
When I pause this Christmas season to think about the place that Joseph found himself in and then how he responded, I’m a little embarrassed to say much about how I’ve ranted about my own ill-fitting places. Of course if you read this blog, you already know I’ve written down a few of my rants. . .
When Joseph learned Mary was pregnant, he decided upon the harder, more selfless strategy vs. the more socially acceptable options that would have preserved some dignity for himself. Then God showed up, this time to Joseph, with another plan that Joseph, to his credit, readily agreed to – to take Mary as his wife and father her unborn child. (See See Matthew 1: 18-24).
A friend of mine considers Joseph one of his favorite unsung Bible heroes. Even though Joseph factors prominently in the Christmas story, not many teaching messages feature Joseph compared to (say) Job or Moses.
Job wasn’t so accepting of his own sudden change of course. Same with Moses who had to be persuaded to accept the assignment God extended to him at the burning bush. Yet look at all the press those two guys get.
No actual words are attributed to Joseph in the Bible but his response to these situations both before and after his God encounters speaks volumes about his relationship with God long before his story unfolds before us.
Obviously, he and God were in relationship, most likely a close one. He not only knew God’s voice but trusted God, so much so that he needed no further persuasion than for God to simply speak into his dreams.
He woke and acted. And the rest is history.
Joseph did not live the life he had in mind when he first asked Mary to be his wife. Instead he agreed to live the life God planned out for him.
“Lord, bring Joseph to mind when next I consider this place where you have brought me to as ill-fitting. Let me instead consider this place as what you’ve allowed or deemed for me. And let me ponder and revel in the wonderful mystery of how you fit all my seemingly ill-fitting pieces together into the most beautiful life that ultimately is not only good for me but honoring to You.”
Image source, Joseph, Mary and baby: http://www.angelfire.com/ks/larrycarter/LC/ChristianResources.html