“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise (in this way): When as his mother Mary was espoused (betrothed) to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily (secretly). But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.“Matthew 1:18-20
If you are like me, then you have been at the crossroads of what God’s will for your life is. You may have wrestled with this in your teens or young adulthood, at midlife, or during a traumatic event or deep trial. I have faced this dilemma several times, and I wondered and prayed about what my next steps would be. I have felt hopeless, sad, and even depressed when it came to what I was to do next as a brick wall stared me in the face. The crossroads in life do not always have signs pointing out what to do next, and often there are no signs at all. It is clear that a decision must be made, but one is confused as to which decision to make.
I was fired in 2010 from a job I thought I would have forever. I did not see the firing coming and afterwards I ran countless scenarios in my head. I knew the things I could have done better, but I had just received a raise and was taken to lunch. Not many people get a raise and a free lunch only to be shown the door at the end of the day. My firing also led to many other decisions that had to be made which went beyond the primary financial needs of losing a job.
I was not too sure what to do next, but I certainly knew that I needed gainful employment. I cleaned the house from top to bottom, but this did not yield us any income. I applied for jobs in areas where I had experience, and I applied for other jobs hoping someone would take a chance on me. I became discouraged as the days turned into weeks, and I felt like I would be unemployed forever. I was out of work for around eight weeks or so when God opened a door for me that I could not have opened myself.
At the time, I was not sure why I was led into the world of retail, but I can see His clear path as I look back on it. God worked on me in that job and started to reveal things to me that I was oblivious to. He placed people in my life I did not care for, but these people revealed to me that I was the same way to other people, including my family. He opened my eyes to the lost, and He gave me a compassion for them that I had lost along the way. I had become complacent in many ways, and He used this time to light a fire under me. I began to see Him work in my life through others, and I began to see real changes in my life. God’s will requires obedience, and we must be willing to walk in the doors He opens and obey Him in all things, even though they may be uncomfortable and unsettling.
I think of Joesph who was faced a huge dilemma in his life. His betrothed wife was pregnant and he had not yet known her in this way. I can’t imagine the things that ran through his mind as he was not sure which step to take. He did not want her to be stoned due to her seeming infidelity, but he did not want to take Mary to be his wife either. He pondered these things and was facing a crossroads.
The angel came to him and told him to not fear in taking Mary as his wife. I don’t see any questioning by Joseph to the angel (I imagine he had many), but I do see that Joseph simply obeyed. He took Mary as his wife and did not fear or worry about the character of Mary. He will be forever known as the earthly father of Jesus, the One who was sent to pay the price for the sin of mankind. Obedience requires faith, and we can’t please God without it.
Are you scared to obey or take God at His Word? Do you seek to go your own way or are you worried about the opinions of others? When standing at the crossroads of life, do you turn to prayer and His Word, or do you take the advice of the world? Taking the world’s path will always lead to destruction, but taking God’s path will lead to everlasting joy and peace. Will you obey God in everything or will you choose your own way? May we always seek God’s truth when we are at the crossroads of life, and may we remember Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”