“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:18-21)
The Redemption’s story comes with miracles upon miracles, glory upon glory — but not without many broken hearts along the way. Though this story of amazing love has the best ending of all the stories, it carries with it painful decisions, broken dreams, and hurt that echoes loud in the deep wells of a soul.
Friend, my heart aches for Joseph every time I walk through this story. This just man, betrothed and waiting for a family of his own, maybe dreaming of those moments of building a family, making a home together with Mary. Then, suddenly. All the dreams and desires come crashing down with what looks like betrayal of the worst kind, his betrothed with a child before they came together. I wonder if Joseph thought along the speculations that are there still to this day; that maybe Mary was pregnant by a Roman soldier and therefore had not herself sought to betray him. I wonder if he even tried to make excuses for the obvious.
Imagine the pain, friend. Those quiet whispers in the night — betrayal, betrayal, betrayal. His desires for a family, now a heap of ruins just like his soul; shredded, broken, crumbled.
But like in the whole of this story unfolding and revealing to us the relentless love of our God, His grace penetrates these ruins as well and there, here, this one word — but. And so an angel of the Lord appears to Joseph in a dream, bringing these words of comfort, of explanation, of love understanding and mending, of purpose. Yes, the hurt is still there and journey will still be painful but now, there is divine purpose, divine possibility for a better future. Now there is a reason to all this: God bowed down from heaven to save us from our sins.
Beloved, take heart. Most days, we do not understand our circumstances, the reason for all this pain we have to carry with us day after day. We watch our dreams crumble down, we lose loved ones, our hearts are broken and never quite mending and here, the quiet whisper again: betrayal, betrayal, betrayal — betrayal by the world, betrayal by a loved one, betraying ourselves.
But then, here, the answer comes — but God. We know our story will have the greatest ending, the glorious eternity with Jesus and no more pain, no brokenness, no tears there. It will come, beloved. Just wait for a little while still. He will come.