God in Our Disappointments

Last week we looked at God in our brokenness (See Here).  We now look at God in our disappointment.

Boy, is life full of disappointments. At the end of your life you will have enough disappointment to write a novel depicting each one of them. Things often turn out in a way that fails to meet our expectations. We are left dejected, deflated, and dispirited. Yet, our disappoint often provides God fertile ground to bring about Kingdom purposes.

Matthew 1:18-25 provides a textbook case of God in our disappointment.

The opening line in this passage sets the stage for the drama: “Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph.” Now – we need to take a few moments to erase the modern notion of engagement from our brains. This situation is nothing like modern day engagement.

First Century “Pledge”

  • Legal contract (included witnesses)
  • Broken by written divorce
  • If “husband” died during pledge the “wife” would be considered a widow
  • Marriage typically took place one year after pledge

Mary and Joseph were young . Typically, first century marriage consisted of a 13-year-old bride and a 18-year-old groom. They had their whole life in front of them. They had dreams of spending a life together. They had dreams of children, a family home. The stage was set for disappointment.

The passage continues: “But before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.” Hearing that line for our modern ears make it hard a pill to shallow. With child through the Holy Spirit! Come on! Yet, just imagine poor Joseph! Disappointment just knocked on the door and let itself inside. The vision of a beautiful family, a dog and a house with a picket fence just came crashing to reality.   He quickly moved from grand visions of the future to plans of what to do now. His answer was simple: divorce. Because he was a righteous man he would do it quietly – he had no plans to make a big fuss about it. On top of being a righteous man, most people like to keep disappointment private. We don’t like t broadcast it to the community.

 The stage is set once again for more drama. An angel appears to Joseph and sets the record straight. There is no need for divorce. God is at work. God is at work in this disappointment. In fact, God is bringing to fulfillment an ancient prophecy. God is using Joseph’s disappointment to bring Isaiah 7:14 into reality.

The stage is set once again. What will Joseph do?

  • Continue with his plans for divorce?
  • Follow in obedience?

The passage tells us … Joseph did what was commanded.

God brought about something God-sized through Joseph’s disappointment. That is the God we worship during Advent.  A God who brings about things which we could never imagine.

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