Summary: What happens when our plans and our dreams are shattered by reality?
The year was 1929. The Roaring Twenties were in full swing. People were happy; the economy was in full boom. Despite the dangers of speculation, many believed the stock market would climb indefinetly. After all, in a six year period, the Dow Jones had risen 5 fold.
Then it happened. Black Thursday. The Stock Market Crashed. And the economoy burst. Many people saw their investments, their financial hopes, and their dreams virutally disappear overnight. Wealth was replaced with simply trying to survive. The dreams of the 20’s were replaced with the hopelessness of the 30s as the United States settled into 12 years of the Great Depression. It certainly was not how those who lived in the prime of the 20’s pictured the future.
Maybe you can relate. I would bet that you have had a dream for what you want your future to look like? Maybe it was the dream of owning your own business; maybe it was the dream of the perfect marriage; maybe it was the dream of starting a family; maybe it was the dream of graduating and going to the perfect school; or using that scholarship to play football for a Big Ten University. The skies the limit for dreams.
But the reality is this. While, sometimes dreams come true, more times than not, in this world, the dreams we have fail to materialize the way we picture them.
And here’s what happens. Instead of living the dream of happily ever after, we end up divorced; instead of the dream family, the doctor tells us we are unable to have children; instead of running our own business, we are rejected financing and find ourselves broke and unemployed; instead of going to that university, we find ourselves attending community college; instead of football on a scholarship, we find ourselves battling just to recover from a serious injury.
And we wake up seeing the hopes and dreams we once had for our future have come crashing down into the reality of life. We are left holding the shattered pieces. Have you ever been left wondering?
What do we do when our dream for the perfect future bursts?
Take a look at today’s story with me.
Matthew 1:18a (NLT)
18 This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph.
Matthew tells us there is an engagement that has taken place. Understand that engagements in the first Century were much more binding than they are today.
Engagements were arranged by the parents; they were public ceremonies witnessed by family and friends and could only be broken through divorce. Sexual relations were forbidden until after the wedding. The terms “husband” and “wife” were used for engaged couples during the engagement.
Now listen to what happens in the narrative.
Matthew 1:18b (NLT)
But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Before they tie the knot Mary becomes pregnant. Matthew tells us the inside information that Mary is still a virgin. But the problem is this: Joseph isn’t privy to the information. He only has Mary’s account. So when Mary tells him she’s pregnant, he has questions. He knows he’s not the father.
Men, picture this situation for a moment. You are engaged to marry the love of your life. You have already purchased the engagement ring at great cost. The idea is becoming a reality. You are anticipating this woman being your (insert congregation names here) Mrs. Barber; Mrs. Bettin; Mrs. Sears. What hopes and dreams did you have?
How would you feel; What would you do, then, if you found out that your fiancé is pregnant? And how would you react if you knew you were not the father? Would you believe her when she told you she was still a virgin? Despite what the tabloids tell us it doesn’t work that way!
The trust in the relationship would be shattered. Both people would share in feelings of disgrace, There would be plenty of questions and not enough answers. We might be thinking “I thought I knew you”; “I thought you cared for me”; ”how could you be intimate with someone else.” And the dream? The dream for both partners would come crashing down into reality. The engagement would likely end.
How does Joseph respond? Matthew tells us (vs. 19)
Matthew 1:19 (NLT)
19 Joseph, her fiancé, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.
Joseph doesn’t seem to believe the story either. He believes Mary has given the gift of her virginity to someone else. So he decides to break off the engagement. He does it quietly.
That’s not how I might handle it. In this world, acts of disgrace are often followed by heaping more disgrace. Do you know what I mean by that?