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.

Meet Rahab

"Rahab," a Bible illustration by a German artist in 2003; learn more here
“Rahab,” a 2003 Bible illustration by a German artist; learn more here

I don’t remember meeting Rahab until college. To be honest, I don’t remember thinking much about her then. I didn’t feel like we had much in common, what with her past and all.

I met her again last summer in a small group setting. She invited us into her home, into her life, to get to know her. She wore no Christian mask and was refreshingly lacking a facade of any kind. She was honest with us about her past. She was open about the choices she has made. As I listened to her story again last summer, she allowed me to ask questions (some of them pretty personal!) and through our time together I finally felt like I connected with this precious sister.

I found myself drawn to her belief in a God she had only heard rumors about. I was convicted as that belief turn to remarkably actionable faith in Him. I was inspired by her all-in obedience to God and her trust in His faithfulness from the first days of her knowing Him.

I saw her in a new light through my friends’ connections with her, as well. “A woman with a past is a woman with a future if she follows God,” one friend said of Rahab after the week was over. Another friend commented, “She took care of God’s people and we should, too.” Still another remarked how impressed she was that Rahab was such a good housekeeper (for her pantry was full) as well as a woman prepared (for that readiness allowed her to do what the Lord called her to do the moment He asked).

You, too, are invited to spend a week getting to know Rahab at her place. Please join her by clicking here.