Something I have learned about following God is that I can make my own plans but He has a way of disrupting them. In fact, Proverbs 16:9 says, "We can make our own plans, but the Lord determines our steps." God may have a plan He placed on my heart; however, what steps are taken to get there are often a lot different than what I envisioned. Following God is an adventure that can bring twists and turns that are not always easy, but always worth the journey. Yesterday, I looked at Mary's visit from Gabriel and her reaction to the news that even though she was a virgin she would become pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. Today, I want to look at Joseph's story; please turn to Matthew 1:18-24.
The thing I want to point out is the culture in which Mary and Joseph were living. This was Jewish Israel, and getting pregnant before getting married was something that could be punishable by death. It makes Mary's response to Gabriel even more remarkable because she knew she was risking her reputation. In Joseph's story, we see that Joseph struggled with what to do with the news that Mary was pregnant. They were engaged to be married, which was different in their culture than in ours. This meant that a lifetime commitment was already made and in order to break the engagement, they would have to have a divorce. Joseph could have called Mary out and had her suffer not only disgrace, but she would potentially face consequences for becoming pregnant.
Instead, because Joseph was a man who cared, he was considering divorcing her quietly so she wouldn't face public disgrace. Since Joseph was known to follow the law carefully, if he married pregnant Mary, he risked humiliation as well because all people would think that he was the biological father of the baby. But Joseph's steps were going to change drastically when he had a visit from an angel in a dream. Joseph found himself taking Mary as his wife despite the risk of humiliation.
I'm not at all saying that God wants to humiliate us, I'm just saying that sometimes following Him means that we are going to have to do something out of the cultural norm and face scrutiny. When my husband was called into ministry, he was enjoying his job as an elementary and middle school band teacher. He was looking at recruiting the largest number of students for the next year the school had ever seen and he was good at what he did. No one understood when he chose to leave a good job he loved to go into ministry - he disappointed colleagues and faced scrutiny. This was a twist in the road that neither us saw when we got married, but we have never regretted following God in the journey. Jesus' presence on earth was a disruption in a way that no one expected. Who knew a little baby could cause such a stir?
How has God disrupted your plans? Did you follow Him when He did?
Linking up with Thought Provoking Thursday.