Be Still Know
Matthew 1:19 NLT
‘Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.’
I’ve never been good at living in the shadows; well, until recently, that is. I always wanted centre stage and experienced an innate demand to be both noticed and appreciated. This wasn’t easy to discern by others as I grew up. I didn’t tread the boards at school and wasn’t a larger-than-life character. Yet, in social groups I craved to be noticed and appreciated. Fear of rejection and of appearing foolish actually made both these fears more, rather than less, likely, although it took some years to appreciate this. My problem was that I was so self-referential that I only viewed the world through my own lens.
Joseph, in a marriage contract with Mary, is surprised to discover she is pregnant, and she deals with the unfaithfulness with some story about divine intervention. Rather than overreacting, out of the love and esteem he had for Mary, he wants to quietly undo the marriage contract, avoiding shame and preserving dignity as best he might. The mature approach he adopts is something I can only marvel at, and learn from. It most certainly wasn’t all about Joseph.
My internal default to move to catastrophic mode at the first hint of trouble ill serves me and those I love. I launch into a verbal tirade that while helping me, through the medium of venting aloud, only serves to exhaust and frustrate my nearest and dearest. I find it hard to make a measured response until the initial whirlwind has expressed itself. I say unhelpful and often unkind things that once expressed influence my own and others’ thinking.
Perhaps one reason Joseph was able to encounter God’s messenger and hear God’s message was precisely because he did not enter catastrophic mode. His calm approach, exploring the best outcome for everyone, created the space into which the still small voice of God’s purpose could be spoken and heard. Joseph’s example is a timely reminder of the critical life lesson I’m learning but still have to master.
QUESTION: Reflect upon your own reactions and responses when things go wrong or unwelcome pressures impact you.
PRAYER: Lord God, may you grant me the wisdom to meet the challenges I face with humility, courage and grace.