Derailed

“Dealing with Disappointment”.  That was the title to a Christmas sermon I heard many years ago.  Weird, I know.  Aren’t Christmas sermons supposed to focus on joy and hope and expectation and promises fulfilled?

I have to admit I love hearing twists to the Christmas story.  I love hearing things that make me look at it from a completely new and different angle.  And this was definitely one of those angles.

It was about Joseph – the other character in the story.  He sometimes takes a back seat in the drama.  But what he was asked to do is so much like what we’re all asked to do at times in our lives – deal with disappointment.  Joseph had plans.  He had found the woman he wanted to marry.  He probably had their whole life laid out in his mind – where they would live, what their kids would look like, how they would grow old together.  And then – wham – he was knocked off his feet by the news that his fiancée was not only pregnant, but um, pregnant with a child of the Holy Spirit.  This was so not Joseph’s plan.

Disappointment is probably an understatement.  Disappointed?  Probably completely freaked out.  Probably in a panic.  Probably questioning God’s plans and God’s timing and God’s seemingly overwhelming and impossible request to be a part of this weird drama.  We aren’t told a whole lot about Joseph’s struggle, but I think we can all imagine it. 

And relate, in an odd way.

God sometimes does derail our plans and our dreams.  He sometimes does ask us to be a part of seemingly overwhelming and impossible scenarios.  We are left questioning His wisdom and His timing and His purposes when we don’t know the rest of the story.  Joseph had no idea that he was going to be part of something that would change the world.  And if he hadn’t obeyed, he wouldn’t have been.

“Then Joseph…did as the angel of the Lord commanded him…” Matthew 1:24

May the same thing be said of me the next time my plans are derailed by a loving God who knows that the story I thought I wanted to be a part of is nothing compared to the one He has in store for me.

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.  Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)
 
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.  Isaiah 55:8
 
But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.  Job 23:10

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