Summary: A sermon about trusting in God.
“It’s going to be Okay”
How is your life going so far?
Is it turning out as you had planned?
What about your career?
Is it everything you had hoped for and more?
How about your marriage?
Or your kids?
How is your family doing?
Is it like the Brady bunch or is it a little bit more messy than that?
What about your walk with God?
Is it easier than you had expected or a bit more complicated?
There can be no doubt that through t-v, fantasy novels and other media we are loaded with false expectations of harmony and good cheer.
And what about Facebook?
Do you tend to post pictures that paint your life in the best of lights or do you make selfies of yourself before you are dressed and have brushed your hair?
Do you post the pictures of your kids when they are pulling each other’s hair or are they usually all smiles?
When you go on vacation, do you post only the “staged shots” or do you pick the pictures when you and your spouse are, perhaps, having a bit of an argument.
Because we tend to try and show only the good parts of our lives, others tend to see only those “good parts” and are maybe given a false impression that their lives are the only ones that are a bit crazy.
This might even cause folks to envy one another’s false lives.
A lot of us spend a great deal of time and energy trying to achieve that picture-perfect life.
In today’s story of Mary and Joseph, things just aren’t going as planned.
But despite the shock, disappointment, struggles and setbacks—they ended up finding themselves more graced and more faithful than they could have ever imagined!!!
Think about it: Joseph, a righteous man, finds out that his soon-to-be wife is pregnant.
We are told that it is a child of the Holy Spirit but Joseph doesn’t know this yet!
So, Joseph decides to divorce Mary, and decides to do it in a very humane way.
His legal options ran the gamut from shaming her to having her put to death.
And then “an angel of the Lord appeared to [Joseph] in a dream” and basically said: “I know this is not what you expected, but it is going to be okay.
God is about to do something wonderful, despite how things seem at the moment.”
Again, where are you at this morning?
How are you feeling about yourself?
I think that one of the beautiful things about the way God decided to be born into this world is that it shows us that amid all our “less-than-picture-perfect” lives---perhaps we don’t have tons of money…maybe our homes aren’t as perfect as we would like them to be…perhaps our church isn’t as perfect as we want…maybe our lives are not what we dreamed of—nonetheless, God is able to do great and miraculous things despite all this!!!
Through the gift of faith, Joseph is able to trust God that what the angel told him was true.
It all certainly catches Joseph completely off-guard, though.
At this point he is totally unaware of the journey his decision to trust God will take—from Bethlehem to Jerusalem, from the Temple to the Cross to the empty tomb.
If Joseph had been told all that, it very well might have been more than any human could handle.
Many times, like He did for Joseph, God opens a door for us, or gives us a vision, calling on us to trust and follow.
And if we do trust and follow—we are amazed by the miracle God works in and through our lives.
I’ve shared this story before, but when I owned a tee-shirt shop in a mall I got convicted that the very things I was making most of my money from were not a good influence on my young customers.
That was God opening a door.
I went through that door when I made the decision not to sell that merchandise any longer.
The real adventure began when God completely took over my life.
Little would I have expected that just a few months later I would be headed to seminary—and the rest of my life and career would be dedicated to full-time ministry as a pastor in the United Methodist Church.
That was 20 years ago.
It’s been a wild ride.
But I am learning more and more each day to trust in God.
And the more we trust Him the more we find that He is more than trustworthy!!!
And trusting in God is what makes life worth living.
Our Gospel Lesson informs us that one of Jesus’ names is “Immanuel”—which means “God with us.”
And this is the best news we could ever know.