December 21, 2019
And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream ... (Matthew 1:19-20a)
There are many times when I wish God would speak to me from on high. Just open the heavens, shout (or whisper) a little guidance. Or send me an angel—or a letter, or a text message, you know, anything would be good. Because I just don't know what to do.
But of course, God usually doesn't do that. Angels are few and far between in my life, and (I'm guessing) in yours as well. Instead, we're left to do what Joseph did—lie awake, "considering these things" with the best wisdom we have available to us. We have to figure out what to do.
But the good news is that we do not have to "consider these things" on our own! Most of us are painfully aware of the limits of our own wisdom. But we have a better resource to rely on, what Paul calls "Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God" (1 Corinthians 1:24b).
James says this to us as well: "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him" (James 1:5). We can ask for the help we need. We can ask about anything—even a situation as seemingly messed up as Joseph's, where he thought his future wife had cheated on him. God will not judge us for being in that situation. He will not say, "See, if you had listened to Me, you wouldn't need to ask for help!"
Jesus is not that kind of person. He listens to us when we are in trouble and cry out. He gives us the Holy Spirit's help to make decisions, even the terribly tough ones. After all, He knows what our lives are like. Isn't He the One who became a human being like us, to suffer, die, and rise for our sakes?
THE PRAYER: Lord, when I am in trouble, help me to cry out to You for help. You always hear me. Thank You. Amen.
Advent devotion by Lutheran Hour Ministries