By Rev. Michael Goldsmith
This is a good time to stop for a minute, get yourself a cup of coffee (or hot chocolate for the non-coffee drinkers), find a quiet spot, pull up a chair and let God give you a Christmas present to last a lifetime. There are many incredible gifts hidden in the Christmas story, but the one I want to share with you is God’s gift of trust.
Who among us hasn’t at times wondered where God is or if God cares when things are out of hand? Certainly Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, had to wonder. In Matt. 1, he’s been hit with the news that Mary, his future wife, is expecting a child and the unbelievable part of the story is that this child is the son of God. In verse 19 we read, “when (Joseph) had considered this…” Can you imagine him up at night? Four times in these first 2 chapters of Matthew, the chapters of the Christmas story, Joseph has a dream where God speaks to him. Each time, God is giving Joseph the gift of trust. There are four ways God builds trust in our lives. Let me share them with you.
The first occasion is found in chapter 1 verse 20. While Joseph is pondering his dilemma, God comes to him in a dream and builds trust by giving him comfort. As the story reads, the angel of the Lord appears to Joseph to reassure him that Mary is telling the truth, that her child will be Jesus, the Son of God, and that He will save humanity from their sins. Those of us who walk close to the Lord are thankful for each time He comes to build trust by giving us comfort and hope. It is God who is able to dispel your fears and restore your hope. Maybe you wonder this moment what to do. Why not allow God to quiet your mind and put comfort in your heart?
The second occasion is found in chapter 2 verse 13. This follows the birth of Jesus and the visit by the Wise Men. God warns Joseph in a dream that King Herod has a plan to have the Christ child killed. God built trust into Joseph’s life by giving him the second aspect of trust which is counsel.
The third occasion of God’s trust gift is found in chapter 2 verse 19. This time, God comes to Joseph in a dream to announce that Herod is dead and that it is safe to return to Israel. The third aspect of trust with God is confidence. God gives confidence in order that we might courageously and boldly follow His plan for our lives. He understands that we need confidence from Him in order to follow through. The more time you spend with God, the more you will become accustomed to His voice and the greater will be your confidence.
Finally, the last aspect of trust is given to us in chapter 2 verse 22. Joseph discovers that Herod’s son is ruling in his father’s place. Fear grips his heart. He is uncertain about returning to Israel. God, once again, gives Joseph the gift of trust by bringing to him the fourth aspect which is consideration. I’ve wondered why God would tell Joseph to return to Israel in verse 19 and three verses later change His mind. God doesn’t change His mind. What became evident to me is that God saw the fear in Joseph’s heart and took that into consideration. In knowing how much strain Joseph could stand, I see that God was considerate of the moment and led Joseph a different path. I think God does that for us many times. Sometimes the challenge is too great, the price too high, the wait too long and God gives us the gift of trust by considering our hearts and planning alternative measures. You can know with complete confidence that if God is leading, He will see you through.
Get yourself one more cup of coffee (or chocolate) and think about what you have just read. In a few moments, these few minutes of quiet will be over. It will be back to business as usual. But hopefully, during this brief break, you’ve given God just enough time to unwrap His gift of trust in you. Have the best of Christmases.
Rev. Michael Goldsmith is Lead Pastor of Timber Ridge Church in Catoosa, Oklahoma. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org