Just as Mary and Joseph leaned on the One who delivered them, so too must we lean on Him to deliver us from our painful situation.
“This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit…But after he had considered this, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Do not be afraid to take her home as your wife…’ When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded” Matthew 1:18-24.
When Bruce and I came together as a couple, we never dreamed of what would lie ahead of us. Our dreams consisted only of building a life together and of raising a family. It was going to be a wonderful life, and our gratitude was deep because we found each other.
As the years would roll out before us, so did the challenges of life. One of our children began experimenting with drugs and entered into a life apart from God, and stayed on that path for many years. The times that Bruce and I held each other, terrified for her life, were times when God taught us loyalty to each other…times when God showed us the power of prayer…times when we had to navigate through the muck but formed a deep and lasting bond with each other.
While our circumstances may have been different than Joseph and Mary’s, our need for God was the same. What if Joseph had not been as close to God as he was? What if he allowed his emotions to run the situation instead of his relationship with God? He and Mary dug in their heels, fully aware of the difficulty of their calling as parents.
I am confident that we all have experienced the challenges of maintaining a couple's relationship while going through painful and fearful experiences. Our success in navigating through our circumstances is based on our relationship with God. Couples must approach the throne together to ensure that they will hear God correctly on the path that lies before them. We must surrender fears and emotions, allowing the Holy Spirit to help us respond instead of react. Just like Mary and Joseph, we must lean on the One who will deliver us from our painful situation. We must trust in those with whom God has surrounded us. We have become much too familiar with the story of Mary and Joseph. It was more than a sweet story of faith – it was a tough story of pain and fear. It was a story of a couple who had to work through trust issues from the very beginning…a couple who had to surrender their own dreams for their child’s life…a parent who had to watch their child suffer and lose his life.
This is real life stuff…real suffering in the hearts of real people. Life is going to be difficult in some of our seasons so we must put Christ first in our families. If Christ is the head of our family we will be carried through the tough times, and rewarded for our faith. Let us remember today that emotions react but faith responds.