Matthew 1:18-23 (MSG) The birth of Jesus took place like this. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. Before they came to the marriage bed, Joseph discovered she was pregnant. (It was by the Holy Spirit, but he didn’t know that.) Joseph, chagrined but noble, determined to take care of things quietly so Mary would not be disgraced.20-23 While he was trying to figure a way out, he had a dream. God’s angel spoke in the dream: “Joseph, son of David, don’t hesitate to get married. Mary’s pregnancy is Spirit-conceived. God’s Holy Spirit has made her pregnant. She will bring a son to birth, and when she does, you, Joseph, will name him Jesus—‘God saves’ because he will save his people from their sins.” This would bring the prophet’s embryonic sermon to full term: Watch for this—a virgin will get pregnant and bear a son; They will name him Immanuel (Hebrew for “God is with us”).
To find examples of wise, godly responses to disappointment, you are more likely to turn to the Old Testament Psalms than to the New Testament Gospel of Matthew. But the very first chapter in the New Testament tells the story of an upright man’s reaction to painful and disheartening news. How do you respond to disappointment?
Joseph—Jesus’ earthly father—was a righteous person. A godly man wants a wife who shares his desire to honor and obey the Lord, and Scripture indicates that Mary was exactly that sort of woman (Luke 1: 45-55). So imagine how stunned Joseph must have been when Mary returned from a long visit with her relative Elizabeth and told him that she was pregnant. Moreover, she was claiming no man had touched her.
Any way Joseph looked at the situation, it appeared grim. And yet ( Matthew 1:20) says that he “considered”—in other words, he sought a wise, righteous response. God entered Joseph’s life in a dramatic way to confirm Mary’s story and put a stop to his “quiet annulment” plans. Has the Lord ever put a stop to your plans?
The Lord turned Joseph’s mourning into joy. Mary had told the truth—strange and startling as it was. The couple would bear the intense public censure of an early pregnancy, but Joseph stopped thinking about what others would say. God had blessed work for him: to raise the Messiah alongside a faithful woman.
Followers of Christ should seek a godly response to disappointments they face. Since the Lord always has a Divine plan, the wisest reaction is to anticipate the good the Lord can do and await His timing. God certainly blessed Joseph for his willingness to “seek first His kingdom” (Matt. 6:33). Now it’s your turn to recognize the Divine plan of the Lord for your life!
Pastor James Baker, Jr.