I love that the Bible gives us honest looks into the lives of the people that experienced God. In our second day of reading, we read Matthew 1, which is largely the kingly genealogy of Jesus and then a condensed version of Jesus' birth. Rather than focus on the long line of names in this passage, what caught my eye was the actions and heart of one man who is forgotten quite often in the life of Jesus. It's that of his earthly father Joseph.
The Scriptures never give us a lot of details about the life of Joseph or give us much of a glimpse into his personality. He is mentioned in the early years of Jesus but is not mentioned during Jesus earthly ministry so it assumed that he died sometime before then. But what little we do get to read about Joseph is about his character and his heart.
As I read our passage in Matthew this morning, I began to wonder what all of this would have been like for Joseph. Imagine finding out that the woman you love and are going to marry was pregnant, yet you hadn't been together. Then not only is she pregnant but she claims that it is a special baby from God. I can only imagine what have been going through his head. Everything from anger to betrayal to love to confusion all of it must have been swirling around his soul. Somewhere in his mind he must have come to the place where he realized either she is lying and has been unfaithful, or she had gone crazy and lost her marbles, or maybe she was telling the truth. Since the last one didn't seem to make any sense he went with the first two and because he loved her decided to divorce her quietly rather than making a public spectacle. This shows us his character that even in his confusion he chose to love her anyway.
But then as of his life couldn't get any crazier he has a dream where an angel comes to him and tells him that Mary isn't lying or crazy, but that what she has said is in fact true and that the baby is going to be the Messiah the promised one to save people from their sins. Again I wonder what went through his head after waking up from that one. Maybe he began to think that he was crazy! While we don't get a glimpse into his feelings or emotions surrounding this, Joseph had a decision to make...was he going to believe and submit his life to the will of God for him? We know that Joseph chose trusted God and let Him derail his life in this beautiful way.
Among the beauty of the Christmas story is this beautiful portrait of a man who willingly and completely surrendered his life to God. He surrendered his honeymoon. He surrendered his desires for the early years of marriage. He surrendered his insufficiencies as a father to God. He surrendered his plans for a family and future together. He surrendered his life to protect Jesus and love his family. He wasn't perfect but he was willing. He was willing to surrender his life to God.
We don't to know Joseph a whole lot in the Scriptures, perhaps he struggled with many of these things more than is written. However, the life of Joseph should serve for us as a reminder that as believers today, we are called to live completely and wholly surrendered to the Lord.
Ask yourself (as I have myself) today, is my life fully surrendered to the Jesus? Have I allowed the Holy Spirit to rule and reign in every part of who I am?
If you are like me today, rather than feel upset or frustrated that you have failed somehow, could I ask you to join me in a simple prayer?
A prayer like this: Heavenly Father, would you help me today to die a little but more to myself than yesterday so that I might be filled with your Holy Spirit?
As seek the Lord with prayers of surrender like this, he is faithful to do what we cannot and transform our hearts to be more life Jesus.