Season of Hope Part 4 – Bringing hope to the broken hearted
This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.
20 As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
22 All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet:
23 “Look! The virgin will conceive a child!
She will give birth to a son,
and they will call him Immanuel,
which means ‘God is with us.’”
24 When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. 25 But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.
At this time of year so many are broken-hearted, failed dreams, lost loved ones, lost jobs, difficult diagnosis. From the story of Joseph, I want to hopefully help you through some of it for this year.
We know from the story that Joseph and Mary were engaged. In this time period an engagement was much more than it is now.
They were considered husband and wife legally, to get out of an engagement meant the dowry was fully refunded and the legally they had to break a marriage contract in effect, get divorced. Which meant shame for both of them, especially the bride.
In many cases the couple’s marriage had been arranged for many years and then the betrothal period was when the husband began working on the house or room, all the plans we made for the wedding, relatives were informed the marriage was imminent. In a small town like Nazareth everyone knew everyone else. It made for an exciting time that everyone looked forward to 7 days of festival.
In some cases love grew from the beginning of the arrangement, in others it grew over the betrothal period, yet in others it wasn’t until after the marriage. Joseph was a just and righteous man, who knew and understood the word. He had a reputation for being such a man and that reputation is probably what caused his business to prosper so he could sink everything into the wedding
Some of you who have gone through a divorce know what a heartbreak this can be. While it is not as bad as the loss of a spouse the pain is nearly as bad. The heart break nearly as bad. A Job loss or other family struggles and brokenness are just as real this time of year too.
I know at Christmas all of these things hit especially hard. What lessons can we gain from Joseph to try to heal the broken hearted
- Stay focused on God’s plan
Joseph had all of his plans. He probably thought I’ll marry Mary, build up my business, have lots of kids, be a good godly man and stay in Nazareth. It was a simple plan but God’s changes made in much more complicated
You probably had plans to…plans to see the person you lost for many more years to come. Plans to have the job you had for a longer time. Plans to be perfectly healthy with no worries. Plans to continue to have your finances safe and secure.
But then your world, like Joseph’s got turned upside down, you are hurt, your feel loss. You can even begin to feel abandoned or hopeless but at the least brokenhearted
Joseph adjusted to God’s plan, he might not have liked it, He knew life was going to be different than he had envisioned life being but He chose to trust the Lord rather than His heartache, frustration or the rejection he would feel from family and friends
When crisis hits we need to see the way God sees. What we recently read in Revelation in Jesus letter to the church of Laodicea. Revelation 3:18
I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.
I know it hurts but if you can ask the Lord to help you see through His eyes to see clearly, you still may not fully understand but you will see through His eyes a different perspective.
God will not let you down, every day he will help you to understand His plan if you will allow Him to show it to you.
- Keep growing in God’s goodness
It would be easy when tragedy strikes to become bitter, angry, vengeful, unforgiving or to just settle into depression, hopelessness.
I can understand that but you also have to understand that God understands that too.
Joseph chose to still love and to trust the goodness of God
19 Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.
When Paige was diagnosed with breast cancer, (cancer is a word you never want to hear), but it happens. Paige is still here so I have not gone through the trauma some of you have gone through with loss. The hurt you feel toward God, the questions we had because of justifying all we have done that has been “good” the enemy wanted to try to create separation between us and God.
But God reminded us, He is always good, He is always faithful and he always loves us. That is called a leap of faith. You see faith doesn’t really grow when the grass is green and the sun is shining, the birds are singing. But it grows in the hearts of people who are truly learning to love God and grow in understanding and trust of Him in the storms, hurricanes of life.
It is overcoming the fear of what seems so very real with the faith in what is actually the truth (This is something you should put on your refrigerator, bathroom mirror or dashboard)
The enemy will do anything he can to make us bitter, fearful, angry, despondent, depressed or to not trust the Lord but if we remain in His goodness we will never fail. Let’s look at these verses to see what I am talking about
Psalm 107:1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.
Lamentation 3:22,23 The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. 23 Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.
You will notice both of these scripture passages reference love as well
1 John 4:8 But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
- Trust God’s word to guide us
Often when we go through heart-break, loss of any kind it is easy to shut God down. To walk away from the Bible, prayer and fellowship with other believers.
I know pain causes us to do that but allow me to challenge that line of thinking. Despite the pain we walk through due to loss, rejection, heart-break, God is still the one that loves us the most, He knows better than anyone, the pain and rejection we are feeling and better than anyone He has the ability to heal, comfort, and love us through it.
The more separation the enemy of our souls can cause us the happier he is because He is trying to cause God pain.
Joseph’s world was wrecked, his future destroyed, his reputation ruined yet rather than give up on God he listened for God!
As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
22 All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet:
What was he considering? He was trying to figure out what to do, He was a godly man we are told so his thoughts would have gone to, “God what do you want me to do?”
Then call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.”
Psalm 91: 14-16
The LORD says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. 15 When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. 16 I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”
I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!
It is human nature to be angry at God, to become frustrated not understanding his plans. Sometimes God allowing man kind to have free will cause problems when someone we love does something to hurt themselves or free will allows a boss, an employee or a co-worker to hurt you, businesses being shut down because of bad government decisions.
However, Some times it is just simply the fallen nature of mankind that has allowed sickness, disease or other things to rob us of our future.
These verses show us that God sees, knows, understands, and He will rescue, heal, protect, empathize, show compassion and move you forward at the right time as we learn to trust him
When the angel shared the scripture with Joseph, he understood and knew it and chose to trust the Lord with his future despite how he felt and the ridicule, rejection, and hurt he would suffer.
If you are suffering at this time of year, loss being so heavy, heart-ache feeling like it will break you, overwhelmed by grief from the loss of a loved one, job, or just a down turn in life because of COVID or other things. This morning run to the one who loves you the most…let him heal you, grieve with you, comfort you and meet you where you are to simply show you He has got this and His plans for you are still true.