One of Rich’s famous sayings in our home is, “Just glue it back together…” Yep, with four little ones six years old and younger–and three of those being boys…things just seem to get broken a lot. Last night, one of our other family members “Stuffed Tiger” (yes, my kids give their stuffed animals very creative names) was flying across the living room without our knowing it. From Parker to Laney and to Laney to Parker. Lots of laughs and giggles…and then we heard a crash. Then tears from our sweet girl.
“Oh mommy!!! It was an accident!!! Joseph is broken!”
I picked up all the pieces, put them on the table…and Richard and I stood there looking. This time Richard said, “Umm–can he even be put back together?”
Something in my spirit was determined to try. The Lord speaks to me in crazy ways–and constantly He speaks to my heart in analogies…so I set the pieces aside…finished bath time and bed time for the children–and realized we were out of super glue. So, off to the store I went.
Yes, I had a million other things to do…but I felt there was a lesson here–so I wanted to be quiet and listen. I felt the Lord teaching me…
Have you thought about it? Don’t forget him. He was also a beloved child of mine. I knew Joseph’s hopes and dreams. I knew his deep love for Mary. I knew how he was esteemed in the community…seen as a devout believer…upright and a reputation that others looked up to. And then, and then I broke him…
Matthew 1:18-19 “This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.”
There were three parts of a Jewish marriage. The agreement. The announcement. The union. For this couple, their had been a courtship. Trust built. Deep love. And the community had watched and rejoiced. But before the union and the marriage was complete, it was obvious to both–she was with child. An angel had appeared to Mary to tell her what would happen–and I can only imagine what was going on in her heart…as she loved the Lord and she also loved her betrothed. She would understand if he left her…after all–would it be fair to him…to ask him to do this with her…to believe her that she had not been unfaithful to him…to raise a child that wasn’t his flesh and blood…to leave her as a single mom and to leave Jesus as what we refer to as a “single orphan” in poor countries. To ask him to join her in this unbelievable reality–and not to care if the world didn’t believe it…if they excommunicated them…if they gossiped about his (in their eyes) “unfaithful” bride…
Joseph could have broken it to Mary gently. She would have understood. And his heart was a mess. “Why Lord? Why? Your word says there are few reasons for divorce–but unfaithfuless is one of them…I won’t embarrass her…I will still honor her and leave her quietly…”
Matthew 1:20-22 “But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “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. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. All this took place to fulfill what the Lord has said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’—which means, “God with us.”
I felt the Lord teaching me as I sat there and tried to put our manger scene Joseph back together. He was broken. And it looked impossible to fix the situation. Nothing was as Joseph had planned…as he had hoped for…and to him, his world had just come crumbling down. It didn’t make sense. Could this REALLY be God’s plan? Could this REALLY be God’s will for his life? Could this really be for his good…the best for his life…because right now–it just hurt…it didn’t make sense. Sure God, following You is the best thing we know–but WHY some times does it have to be so hard? Why some times does it have to hurt? Why some times to You have to break us in a million pieces where it looks to be impossible to be put back together again?
Because with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. ” Matthew 19:26
Nevertheless He saved them for the sake of His name, That He might make His power known.” Psalm 106:8
“You are my servant…in whom I will show my glory.” Isaiah 49:3
And some how in the watches of the night (and with the help of some powerful superglue), our manger Joseph was put back together. The cracks…obvious. A few pieces I couldn’t find. And I crawled around on the floor and even laid there looking under the couch trying to find one last piece. I felt the Lord speak to my heart again…
My child…and that is why I also had to come down. I had to stoop down…leave the heavens…and come down to your level. It was the only way I could truly pick up the pieces…YOUR pieces…and restore the broken world. It was the only way for you to know my Father in heaven. Through me–your brokenness would be put back together.
There will be cracks. There will be holes. And to the rest of the world–it won’t look perfect. The holes will remind you of the brokenness in the world…because of sin–brokenness will always be there. There will be pain. There will be loneliness. There will be heart ache. Even this Christmas as you remember Jesus–his coming…Mary–her faithfulness…and Joseph–his willingness to be a father to the fatherless on this Earth…it is hard to even see clearly because of your own brokenness. But God didn’t just say, “She’s broken…I can’t use her…” Nope. He said, “I will not give up on her–I am always here–and if she is willing to let me…I will always put the pieces back together…and it will be for my glory. Yes, as she lets me put her back together–there will be cracks…there will be holes that always hurt…but she will shine my glory as she seeks to be restored by Me, and Me alone. And if she is willing, I will use her like I used Joseph. To love those that are not even her flesh and blood…but to love each of them deeply and to not care what the world thinks or says or even if they agree or support her. Because I am all she will need…and it will be for my glory.”
Matthew 1:24-25 “When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
This wasn’t how Joseph would have planned it. Even in his obedience to God, his pride had to disappear as he couldn’t even provide more than a stable to bring in his love’s firstborn. None of it made sense–but it was just as the Lord desired His only Son to come into the world. Had He been born in a palace…sure it would make sense for the story to be told and for us to still tell it more 2000 years later. But in a stable and for us to know…that is a miracle. And Joseph—in his obedience—was part of the most miraculous event in history. And HE gave him the name Jesus…he was his adoptive father…and he was charged to help raise the Son of God. He was put back together. And the glory of God was revealed.
…Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests…