December 19, 2014

No Escape

Matthew 1:18-21

Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
—Matthew 1:19


I used to believe that if I worked hard, treated people well, showed kindness, and made good decisions, I would be able to avoid all troubles. I was convinced that it was within my power to live in such a way that bad things wouldn’t happen to me. Even though I knew I would never be perfect, I thought I could be “good enough” to have a trouble-free life. But I was wrong.

God’s people can experience trouble even if they are living a faithful life. Joseph had learned that his fiancée, Mary, was expecting a child, and he knew he was not the father. This news left him in a no-win situation. If he married her, he would always know that he was not the father of her child. If he took a stand for his own righteousness, he would disgrace Mary and subject her to additional shame.

It is hard to know how best to respond when the difficulties of living in a sinful world slap us across the face. Joseph formed the best plan he could think of, until God made things clearer.

Wisdom to know how to respond in a sinful world is a gift from God, and even though Joseph’s plans seemed appropriate, we are thankful that God made his plans clearer, and this guided Joseph through many trials and struggles.

Holy Spirit, give me wisdom so that I may know how best to respond to the difficult and trying times that I face in this sin-stained world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Bill Sytsma

Bill Sytsma is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary (M.Div) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (D.Min). He is the author of the book Follow the Leader and is serving as the pastor of New Life Christian Reformed Church in Highland, Indiana. He and his wife, Staci, have hosted support groups for families built through adoption. He and Staci are the proud parents of three active boys: Luke, Isaac, and Nico.

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