My favorite character in the Christmas story is Joseph. I find his experience two thousand years ago the most like our spiritual experience today.
Joe was trying to do everything right, but everything in his life seemed to be going terribly wrong. Mary, the woman he is in love with has become pregnant and he is 100% certain HE is NOT the father. His world is upside down. His dreams for his marriage are completely destroyed. He feels betrayed. Mary is either a liar who cheated on him or she’s delusional because she thinks God did this. His friends and family say, “dump her.”
In the middle his confusion comes a divine moment. An angel shows up and says God is writing a bigger story and bringing salvation to the whole world through the baby Mary is carrying. Then he extends an invitation to Joseph to step into an extraordinary life. When God steps into our life, He always calls us to a higher level of righteousness and commitment. God called Joe to a life that no one would have expected or desired for him…to continue the relationship with Mary.
At some point Joseph must have thought, “God this is your mess. You clean it up. You got her pregnant. That baby is yours, not mine.” He could have walked away, but he stepped into that difficult moment. Matthew 1:24 explains, ”When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife.” Instead of an ordinary life, he stepped into a divine moment with God and his life was never the same again.
The journey of life with Mary led Joseph to experience less stability, less predictably, and most likely less respect from a gossiping community. His future was unclear and uncertain. When we follow Christ our lives become more complicated, not simpler. He calls us to go places that will be more difficult, not more comfortable.
The truth is Joseph could have had a good ordinary life without Mary, but it would not have been the extraordinary life God invited him into. The same is true for you and I. We often are not choosing between a sinful life and godly life. We are choosing between an ordinary life and an extraordinary life. Between a common life and an uncommon one. Between an easier life and an eternal life. If Joe had followed through and let go of Mary, his life definitely would have been normal, but he would have missed the extraordinary adventure of following God.
What divine moment is God inviting you into?