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NIV is used unless otherwise noted.

Shattered Plans

Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife,
because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 1:20

Has life taken an unexpected turn? Are you in a place or situation that is far from what you planned? What will you do? Who can you trust?

Joseph was happily betrothed to Mary, planning their future in Nazareth, when unexpected news changed everything. Mary was pregnant, and Joseph wasn’t the father. Imagine his shock, his grief and his struggle to determine what to do. He weighed two options—to have Mary stoned or to divorce her. Neither option was good, but a quiet divorce seemed best. Have you been there? Your plans were destroyed, leaving what appeared to be no suitable option.

Then God stepped into Joseph’s dilemma. An angel of the Lord appeared telling Joseph to take Mary as his wife. The child conceived in Mary was from the Holy Spirit and was the promised Savior. (Matthew 1:20-21) Joseph believed! What initially appeared to be a tragedy became the greatest blessing of his life.

Joseph must have eagerly prepared his home in Nazareth for Jesus’ birth. But once again unexpected news of a census changed everything. Jesus wasn’t born in Nazareth. He wasn’t born in a prepared room or even in an inn. He was born in Bethlehem in a shelter for animals. I doubt that wasn’t Joseph’s plan!

When did Joseph come to realize that the place of Jesus’ birth was no surprise to God? Was it when the shepherds appeared with amazement in their eyes, proclaiming that angels had announced the birth the Savior? The Sovereign God had determined long ago that the Majestic Son would be born in a humble place.

Shattered plans ended in Joseph’s blessing. He learned of God’s sovereignty and trustworthiness. What plans of yours have disintegrated? Will you trust that the Sovereign God wants to use your dilemma to grow you in faith and knowledge of Him?

Father, when plans crumble, turn our focus on You and show us more of Your greatness. 

Jan Burkhart

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