I woke up this morning with a hungry heart that was so eager to dive into the word.
This is profound because during the whirlwind of my 345,023 adjustments and readjustments, my almost overbearing love for the word dwindled to a flickering daze. I wish I could say the past six months have been the best months of my life. They haven’t. They’ve been full of heartache, soul searching, identity crisis(s) [do we want to get into the TJ Maxx meltdown story? Nope.], and grieving the losses of many dreams, rights, and comforts.
I really feel like the Lord wanted to speak to me today through Matthew Chapter 1 and my Chris Tiegreen devotional. This morning’s message was on love and obedience and how the two are intricately woven to perfectly reflect the condition of our hearts. Tiegreen said ultimately we cannot love God without obedience and we cannot (for long) obey Him without truly loving Him.
The same theme stuck out to me in Matthew 1:24, “When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife…”
Wow, Joseph’s love, confidence, active trust, and faith in the Lord was huge! Preface: Joseph has this fiancé Mary. She ends up pregnant before their wedding and he is NOT the father [I said that in my head like the Maury show...]. An angel of the Lord came to Mary and told her she’d give birth to the promised savior. So, that’s how she’s pregnant. Joseph, being a righteous and merciful man, wants to quietly break off the engagement to help keep her honor as well as his. But an angel visited him in his dreams and said this is a special child, Mary’s not lying, take her as your wife, this child will save people from their sins.
Okay, can we just be honest for a second? Joseph laid a lot down. We give Mary a ton of credit, especially around Christmas, and I’m not trying to be rude but she didn’t have much choice. Hers was a more passive obedience. Joseph, on the other hand, laid down his honor-which living in this society in Senegal, I’m beginning to understand the weight of that. He laid down his plans and dreams to a normal, honorable life as soon as he woke up. There was no hesitation. He heard the plans of the lord and obeyed. Why? Because He knew and loved the One who asked him to be a part of the eternal King’s plan to redeem the world. As an act of worship, he lovingly laid down his will for one that was greater.
So, how does this relate to me and the past six months of my life? No, the past six months haven’t been the best months of my life. Yes, there has been heartache. Yes, there have been innumerable losses in regards to relationship strains, hopes, dreams, and desires. Yes, there have been meltdowns over the puzzling questions, “Who am I and where do I fit?” But I can say with full confidence, the past six months have been the most challenging, liberating, insightful, and maturing in regards to my walk with the Lord.
I am learning what it looks like to lay aside, time and time again, my will for something greater that more than likely will take sacrifice. I am learning to let go of things I have a tight grip on (ie: past, present and future things) and they them down at His feet. I am learning to trust Him in all things, even when they are painstakingly difficult. I am learning what it means to live a life of grace, love, and truth. I’m learning what it means to persevere and fully depend on the Lord to get me through each day. I’m learning how to abide throughout hurts and disappointments. I’ve learned what it feels like to step back from the Lord and to feel His faithfulness, and steadfast love pursuing me. Those are sweet highs that I wouldn’t have been able to learn without the necessary lows.
I may not have had an encounter with Gabriel in my sleep and give me prophetic messages straight from the God of this universe, but He showed up this morning with a very special message that has stirred my heart with love for Him. It’s not about me and His plans are better.