He lived a life of adventure.
When you hear his story, you may not see it that way. Not at first.
The drama began with his beloved. The man had solid proof that his girlfriend, actually his fiancé, had been with someone else. Even so, he decided to marry her. The child isn’t his, but he loves the boy.
Immediately, this new father notices strange things—unknown visitors showing up at his door. It doesn’t happen once but repeatedly. Some of these people are quite poor and others are really wealthy.
Why? He doesn’t know.
But the situation gets far worse.
One night, as he’s sleeping, the new father is warned that a raid is planned for his home. Remember when that happened to Trump’s 2016 campaign manager, Paul Manafort? The FBI abruptly arrived and searched his house in the early morning hours.
But this isn’t a government agency coming with a search warrant for tax records. The army is about to descend on this man’s household, drag his new baby from his bed, and murder the child.
Why? He has no idea.
The man immediately gets up and grabs his family. They flee the city in darkness, hurrying until they cross the border to safety in a neighboring country.
Do you recognize this famous man?
It’s Joseph, the father of baby Jesus.
Joseph must have been happy at the outset—Mary was a special person. The angel Gabriel let’s us know that Joseph’s new wife had found favor with God. Luke 1:30
But the situation deteriorates pretty quickly once Joseph finds out she’s with child. Definitely not what he’d expected.
Clearly, Joseph is close to God. Altogether, Joseph has four dreams with guidance from angels.
The first dream occurs when Joseph is thinking about divorcing Mary.
“Joseph, son of David,” an angel says. “Do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 1:20
Joseph awakens and knows his future, uniting with his bride. Matthew 1:24-25
It’s the second dream that leads to the night of terror.
“Rise,” an angel says. “Take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt…for Herod is about to search for the child to destroy him.” Matthew 2:13
Joseph doesn’t hesitate, as I said. He gets up, grabs his family, and races from the city in darkness, running to the border.
When Herod dies, there’s a third dream.
“Rise…and go to the land of Israel,” an angel says, “for those who sought the child’s life are dead.” Matthew 2:20
In the fourth dream, an angel warns Joseph not to go back to Judea, but to take his family to Nazareth.
It must have been quite unsettling—from the virgin birth, to the night of panic, to the period as a fugitive, to the dangerous return. Joseph’s life was upended for years.
If you’re facing trouble, worried for yourself or your family, remember Joseph. Although he had crisis after crisis, Joseph moved forward. And this is why:
Joseph had made peace with his future—he knew the Lord would be there no matter what happened.
Examine your life. If your situation feels overwhelming, if you’re suffering, if you’ve had hardship after hardship with no answer in sight, draw close to God as Joseph surely did.
Pray and believe, because as the Lord guided Joseph, He will also guide you. You can live a life of adventure with God.
Whatever happens, wherever you go, this great truth prevails—
God will be there.
Copyright © 2018, 2020 R.A. Mathews. All rights reserved. The Rev. R.A. Mathews is an attorney, faith columnist, and the author of “Reaching to God.” Write to her at [email protected]