This morning I had a revelation of sorts that I am kind of embarrassed to admit. I decided that Joseph, Jesus’ earthy father is one of the most boring characters in the Bible.
About all we know of Joseph was that he was engaged to be married to Mary but then found out his fiancé was pregnant by someone that was not him. Don’t you know that news came as a jolt?
Old Joseph is about to skedaddle when old Gabriel shows up and as always the first words out of his mouth are, “Don’t be scared! (Matthew 1:20)”
We all know the drill by now. Any time a heavenly creature tells us not to be scared it means some very scary stuff is heading our way.
Gabriel tells Joseph that Mary is carrying the child of God and to name the child Jesus because he will take away the sins of the world. For all I know Joseph had a stroke because we don’t hear a whole lot more about him from that point on.
Do you see what I mean? Kind of boring!
Even so, we can sort of read between the lines and surely there was much more going on. For starters, Joseph could have had Mary stoned to death, such was the punishment back in the day for pregnancy out of wedlock.
Furthermore, we know that Joseph must have been high on adventure because he’d have been pressed into service to escort his family down into Egypt to avoid the tirade that the wrath of Herod was about to sit down upon them.
So, maybe what is most fascinating is that as much as a dead-end road must have appeared to Joseph, having his fiancé pregnant and all, and as alone and forsaken as he probably felt, it was not the end of the story.
Certainly, Joseph’s situation was the last thing that he had in mind, but it was foremost in the mind of God! God knew all the time where things were heading.
And, God excels in bringing glory out of disastrous events. In this case, Joseph never saw it coming…that his guidance and protection would escort the Son of Man into adulthood.
There is a relatively new hymn out there entitled, Glorious Ruins that addresses this very issue:
I’ll walk through the fire
With my head lifted high
And my spirit revived in Your story
And I’ll look to the cross
As my failure is lost
In the light of Your glorious grace
(Glorious Ruins, Joel Houston and Matt Crocker, 2013)
I just love that my spirit revived in Your story part. Whatever ruins I encounter in my life, Christ can make them glorious because I’ll look to the cross as my failure is lost.
Please forgive my vernacular but it aint over ‘til God says it’s over. And yes, I know…we battle constantly forces beyond flesh and blood, forces of evil and systematic chaos, but look to the cross and failure is lost!
Out of our ashes, God will excel in creating light out of nothing and it is here that we can take heart because God’s glorious grace may be more fully realized!