Sermons

Summary: Every parent has stories to tell – from drug and alcohol dependency, teen pregnancy, the call from the local police detachment and the runaway that hasn’t called home in five years...It’s tough being a parent regardless how old the child is.

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Perplexed: adj.

1. Filled with confusion or bewilderment; puzzled.

2. Full of complications or difficulty; involved.

Parenting (in using the words parenting or parents I also refer to caregivers or guardians or anyone having the responsibility of taking care of or having cared for children) is hard work when things are fairly normal. Hard work becomes exhausting labor when special needs replace standard care. Anxiety and breakdown replaces exhaustion when a parent feels completely out of control with little hope of improvement or change to the present situations. It is here perplexity shows up and makes itself at home.

Single parenting (or lone parenting, sole parenting) is even harder. Lack of food, clothing, warm shelter and health care puts children at risk. Day Care costs are so high many lone parents are not sure if it’s best to stay home and not work. But they have to work.

Lone parents understand what it means to be perplexed.

My nephew Alex – 16 years old with a disease called Sturge-Weber Syndrome. Seizures and convulsions are common along with multiple other health issues. His mental and physical functions are characteristic of an infant so he requires bottle-feeding, pampers and a wheelchair.

My sister can write a book on being perplexed.

Every parent has stories to tell – from drug and alcohol dependency, teen pregnancy, the call from the local police detachment and the runaway that hasn’t called home in five years. Whether challenges during infancy, extreme teen life crisis, or late life incidents, all create complications and difficulty in parents’ / caregivers/ guardians lives so that guardians are perplexed. It’s tough being a parent regardless how old the child is.

Some parents are feeling worried, helpless and beaten up. They’ve post failure notices on the walls of their lives because things are not going well with their children.

You are perplexed.

Don’t despair! The couple in our story walked the road ahead of us and can help parents experiencing dark times to get through so they not only survive but also thrive!

Series of lessons gift-wrapped by the Master Gift-giver!

The first gift-wrapped lesson is,

Mary and Joseph were normal, perplexed parents exposed to abnormal situations.

The stage:

- Mary mid to late teens (believed to be 14-15 years old)

- A pregnant teenager that people could label as being psychotic (Psychosis: “characterized by a loss of contact with reality and an inability to think rationally.” Dictionary.com) – e.g. “I’m going to have God’s baby.” How do you tell a story like that without people thinking you’re out of your mind?

Even if Mary said nothing about the whole “God’s baby” stuff, to be pregnant could mean one of three things according to Reverend Phil Greetham:

1. She had been raped

2. She had sex with another man willingly

3. She had met Joseph secretly, and they had succumbed to temptation

Mary was deeply perplexed – she was bewildered by the visitation of the angel of God and certainly puzzled about how this would all play out in her life, Joseph’s life and her community (Lu 1:29)…

What would Joseph have said or shared if he had told his own story? The following video beautifully paints a picture of Joseph’s perplexity – his doubts, anger – and finally inexpressible joy as God came to him. Hear his story in Joseph’s Quill(sermonspice.com)

Gift-wrapped lesson two,

In times of perplexity, God provides parents with the things and people we need to face our crisis.

E.g. – Having veteran parents come and help out when getting used to being a new parent is an indescribable gift.

When Mary received the news God was going to make her pregnant God had her leave town and visit with her cousin, Elizabeth. She needed someone to validate her, to strengthen her for the responsibility ahead.

– Elizabeth was six months pregnant with John when the news was announced to Mary that she would have a child (Lu 1:26)

– Lu 1:39-45…

- God confirmed through Elizabeth the truth he spoke to Mary. She needed assurance – that she wasn’t crazy, that God had his hand in all this – and that assurance led to her soul rejoicing with words that exalted God, with a spirit that embraced the path He had established – Lu 1:46-55…

Joseph needed someone to validate him as well as we saw in the video. He would have divorced Mary, taken a quiet settlement and completely separated himself from the woman he loved and thought unfaithful. But God took time to encourage Joseph and provide him with an understanding of what was happening.

Gift-wrapped lesson three,

God stage-directs every detail of parents’ lives. Absolutely nothing is too difficult for him to manage.

Reverend Phil Greetham makes the point effectively. He mentions that Joseph intended to keep the divorce proceedings private so “the pregnancy may not have been common knowledge at this time.” The ‘roomy’ clothes Mary wore could have helped to hide the evidence. However, when the child was born six months later the cat would be out of the bag. The strict Northern Province could then have been very unkind to Mary and Joseph, to learn they conceived a child outside wedlock. If there was a way to leave Nazareth and come back some years later no one would ever know what happened. Greetham notes, “If such thoughts ever crossed the minds of Mary and Joseph, we do not know, but circumstances were taken out of their hands. Amazingly an imperial decree was issued through Governor Quirinius which demanded that Joseph return to his home town of Bethlehem for registration.” Jesus would have been born while Joseph was away. Who knows what might have happened to Mary and the child. This could explain why Joseph decided he must take Mary on his journey to Bethlehem. If the community had not yet found out about Mary’s early pregnancy, the perfect opportunity had arisen to make sure they never did.

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