“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” Luke 1:34
When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. Matthew 1:24
Many people know the story about Mary and Joseph, but few really think about the faith of each and what faith it must have taken to move forward as they did.
Mary was probably a teenage girl who was in an engagement to get married to Joseph. The time of the wedding was some time off. One night an angel appears to her and tells her that she will be pregnant with a boy who would become the savior of the world.
She immediately asks a legitimate question ‘How?’. This did not make sense to her, since she was a virgin. Mary obeyed the law and stayed pure for her wedding day.
The angel stated that it would happen by the Holy Spirit of God coming upon her. And it happens.
Now she has to face a dilemma. What is she to do? How will she bring this news to Joseph? How will he take it? How will she tell her parents? Her friends? What will the neighbors think? What will the priests think and do?
Her life is now in danger. During those days, once a person was engaged to be married, it was as if they were married. To have sexual relations outside of marriage was punishable by death because it would be considered adultery.
Yet, she had to trust God and move forward knowing what God had told her and knowing she was innocent, regardless of what may happen or what people may say.
Joseph also had a dilemma to deal with. Now he finds out that she is pregnant. He is a God-fearing, law abiding citizen and good upstanding in the community. What will people think and say of him? What will people think and say of her? What about his position in the community? What about his stand for God? What will the priests think and do when they find out? How will this affect him?
He chooses to quietly divorce her and let her go her way without any direct punishment.
Yet, God has other plans. The angel appears to Joseph also, and tells him that what is happening is of God’s work. Immediately Joseph did what the angel does, trusting God, having faith that God knows what He is doing, despite how bad it looks on the outside. Joseph does not divorce Mary, nor does he go into hiding or run away.
God’s ways and thoughts are above our ways and thoughts. He sees a picture that is much bigger and clearer than we could ever see.
There may be times when God will ask you to do something that will go against the cultural norms of the day, in fact, that will happen the majority of the time. He calls His people to be different, to stand out in this dark world as a light.
Light is different than darkness. It exposes, where darkness hides. As a believer there will be times when God will use you to reach this lost, dark world for Him.
God used Mary and Joseph to reach the world by telling them that they will raise the boy who would become the Savior of the world. He would be the long prophesied and awaited Messiah to come.
As you are a witness, there will be people who will not understand. They will not see the bigger picture. At times it may look like you are crazy and doing something wrong, though you are following God correctly.
Going against the cultural norms of this fallen, dark world can be dangerous. It may threaten your job, your position in the community, your title, and even your family. Sometimes it will be with just words, while other times it could be a physical threat. Regardless of how it happens, there is danger when you have faith in God and are following Him with a sincere heart.
Satan and this world do not want you to be successful in God’s eyes. They want you to fail. Yet, you must step up to the plate and move forward, trusting God. This is faith.
Just as with Mary and Joseph raising Jesus, God has a job for you to do. You may only touch a few people or millions directly, but through you, God can touch change the world. Be willing to step out in faith, following God when everything about it does not look right and sounds crazy. God is with you. Keep the faith!