Joseph, the Contented One

I love this image of Joseph, freshly awakened and ready to obey the Lord's command. I found the image here.
Annunciation to Joseph by LDS artist Joseph Brickey, 2000.

Read: Matthew 1:18-25

I like Joseph. In my head, he was a quiet thinker. He was happily content. He was the kind of guy that kept his nose clean. He was responsible. He was dependable. When we’re introduced to Joseph, things are going pretty well for him. He is able to make a respectable living working with his hands as a carpenter. He was soon-to-be wed to Mary, a chaste and God-fearing young lady in the village. Before long, God would surely bless them with children to run and laugh around their happy home. Life was good.

Until it wasn’t.

His beloved fiancé…was pregnant? Who was the father? What should he do – expose her? divorce her?

He must have wrestled for hours over where it all went wrong and what he should do about it until finally – mercifully! – Joseph fell into what I imagine to be a hard-won sleep.

In the wee hours, Joseph finally lay sleeping quietly. It was then, as Joseph was still, that God whispered through Gabriel. He spoke to Joseph’s fears. He answered Joseph’s groanings that were too confused – too hurt – for words. He calmed the chaos that robbed Joseph of his prior contentment. And in response –

“When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him.” (v 24)

As you navigate this second week of the {chaotic} Christmas season, begin by pondering what has robbed you of contentment during past holiday seasons? Is it the hustle and bustle of making lists and checking them twice? Is it holiday entertaining? Is is the constant strain from an overly committed calendar? Is it crowded stores? Financial stress? The self-imposed pressure of making this the “best Christmas ever?” Joseph’s contentment was found in living in obedience to God’s Word. What about yours?

This week, prioritize being still with God daily. Spend your time with Him listening more than speaking. And then, like Joseph, obey.

Help for the Hurting Heart

Because of what I shared here on Monday, I wanted to follow up with some encouragement for those who are currently experiencing brokenness and are “feeling the feels” today.  Know this – God loves you and there is help to be found in Him.

Please feel free to share and print this graphic.
Please feel free to share and print this graphic.

Books for the Brokenhearted

My desk during the Lenten season - a depository of books on brokenness.
My desk during the Lenten season – a depository of books on brokenness and trusting God.

If you’re in a season of Crying Out to God, here are some tried-and-true resources to encourage your heart & help you gain perspective in the trenches.  Perhaps they can help you, too, to learn to praise God even as you cry out. (Click on the book covers to read more about each title at Amazon.com – affiliate links.)

This continues to be the most meaningful book I've read on the topic of brokenness.
The Blessings of Brokenness continues to be the most meaningful book I’ve read on the topic of brokenness, and for that reason, if you only read one book on the topic, pick this one.
Since The Blessings of Brokenness touched my heart in such a special way, I wanted to ready more from Dr. Stanley. For that reason, this gem is my current read through Lent.
Since The Blessings of Brokenness touched my heart in such a special way, I wanted to read more from Dr. Stanley. For that reason, this gem is my current read through Lent.

 

This was the first book I ever read on the topic of trusting God with our hurts - 25 years ago! - and it's as applicable today as it was then. Highly recommend if, like me, you struggle with the issue of wholehearted trust.
This was the first book I ever read on the topic of trusting God with our hurts – 25 years ago! – and it’s as applicable today as it was then. Highly recommend if, like me, you struggle with the issue of wholehearted trust.
A must-have companion to Trusting God (Even When Life Hurts). Trust me. You won't regret getting the study guide with its stellar prompts, additional Scripture, action items and more. I still have mine all these years later. It's pages are where the rubber met the road for me.
A must-have companion to Trusting God (Even When Life Hurts). Trust me. You won’t regret getting the study guide. I still have mine all these years later. It’s pages are where the rubber met the road for me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you're looking for purpose and redemption in your brokenness, the book is for you. The subtitle says it all - How God Redeems Pain & Suffering.
If you’re looking for purpose and redemption in your brokenness, this book is for you. The subtitle says it all – How God Redeems Pain & Suffering.
Part of the Revive Our Hearts Series, this book is a popular shelf item in church libraries. I recommend checking yours.
Part of the Revive Our Hearts Series, this book is a popular shelf item in church libraries. I recommend checking yours.