Joseph and Disappointment
Someone pointed out to me recently that Joseph, the Carpenter, does not speak in Scripture. His handling of disappoint certainly spoke to me last week!
Of the many ways we can be disappointed in life, in my opinion, infidelity would be a top ranking, if not the top of the list. When a person that is trusted shows up with the failure of faithfulness and purity—that is a big blow. Joseph, the Carpenter faced that ultimate disappointment.
Joseph and Mary were promised to one another in the eventual bond of man and wife with all fidelity and purity intact. Now, I am supposing something in the following lines because it is not explained in Scripture. Mary receives the message from the Archangel Gabriel. Perhaps, just perhaps she thinks, “This isn’t going to happen right away, right?” She misses a cycle and questions within herself the probability that the message was indeed correct. When the second cycle is missed, she knows. Yes, she knows. Now what?
“Joseph,” she says, “We need to talk.” Those words bring a host of thoughts to mind when a spouse or loved one approaches with those words! Joseph, perhaps, braces himself for some dreaded truth. If only the truth had been personal hygiene or a disagreeable friend, or something his mother said. No, none of those subjects came close to the shattering news. A baby? When? How? It is not mine!
Stammering through tears, Mary tries to explain but Joseph is so dumbfounded he does not know what to think. Matthew 1:19-20 gives us some insight. The stigma, the gossip, the despair of feeling abandoned as a man was devastating. I find in Joseph, however, a man of principle. He did not give in to reaction but he did stop to reason. Giving himself to consider his conversation with Mary, God was able to reason with Joseph. Appearing in a dream, an angel verified Mary’s innocence and fidelity and God quieted Joseph’s heart with those two wonderful words: “Fear not.”
Is this the end of the scene? No. There is ongoing relief and mourning is turned to joy. Joseph went on to father children with Mary that were biologically theirs. Mark 6:3 names four of those children. Joseph fulfilled his role of protecting and providing for the child, Jesus. The firstborn child, Jesus held a special place in the heart of Joseph, I conjecture.
Disappointment can turn into pleasure if we allow God to work in the circumstance. Regardless of what disappointment comes our way, it is likely to be small in light of what Joseph faced. The difference will be in whether we react, or if we reason. Reaction clouds the vision and allows words and actions fly that can linger for years and years. Reason will allow a solidarity that brings peace and security.
Celebrate the birth of Christ with reason, peace, and security. Don’t let the pleasure and peers in the worldly realm ruin your reasoning skills. Your disappointment may be a private thing and yet, it will be a struggle. Get past it with God’s overwhelming grace.
I wish you Christmas grace.