How to deal with disappointment, painful and disheartening news.
Matthew 1: Joseph Accepts JESUS as His SON
18 This is how the birth of JESUS the MESSIAH came about: HIS mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the HOLY SPIRIT.19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20 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.21 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.”
22 All this took place to fulfil what the LORD had said through the prophet:23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him IMMANUEL” (which means “GOD with us”).
24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the LORD had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave HIM the name JESUS.
To find examples of wise, godly reactions to disappointment, you’re more likely to turn to Psalms than to Matthew. But the very first chapter in the New Testament tells the story of an upright man’s reaction to painful and disheartening news.
Joseph—JESUS’ earthly father—was a righteous person. A godly man wants a wife who shares his desire to honour and obey the LORD, and Scripture indicates that Mary was exactly that sort of woman (Luke 1: 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the LORD would fulfil HIS promises to her!”
46 And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the LORD
47 and my spirit rejoices in GOD my SAVIOUR,
48 for HE has been mindful
of the humble state of HIS servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49 for the MIGHTY ONE has done great things for me—
holy is HIS name.
50 HIS mercy extends to those who fear HIM,
from generation to generation.
51 HE has performed mighty deeds with HIS arm;
HE has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 HE has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
53 HE has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
54 HE has helped HIS servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors.”)
So imagine how stunned Joseph must have been when Mary returned from a long visit with her relative Elizabeth and told him that she was pregnant. Moreover, she was claiming no man had touched her.
Any way Joseph looked at the situation, it appeared grim. And yet Matthew 1: (20 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.)—in other words, he sought a wise, righteous response. GOD entered Joseph’s life in a dramatic way to confirm Mary’s story and put a stop to his “quiet annulment” plans.
The LORD turned Joseph’s mourning into joy. Mary had told the truth—strange and startling as it was. The couple would bear the intense public censure of an early pregnancy, but Joseph stopped thinking about what others would say. GOD had blessed work for him: to raise the Messiah alongside a faithful woman.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Followers of CHRIST should seek a godly response to disappointments we face. Since the LORD always has a plan (Jeremiah 29: 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.), the wisest reaction is to anticipate the good HE can do and await HIS timing. GOD certainly blessed Joseph for his willingness to “seek first HIS kingdom” (Matt. 6: 33 But seek first HIS kingdom and HIS righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.).
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge HIM, and HE will make your paths straight.” –Proverbs 3:5-6
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” –John 14:27
GOD desires for our hearts to be committed to seeking HIM. But when you think about seeking the LORD, what kinds of things do you find yourself saying to HIM or asking of HIM? Often times, we may seek GOD for what HE can give us instead of simply seeking HIM for being GOD and what we can do for HIM! Now this doesn’t mean we can’t ask HIM for what we need. HE does want to provide for us and HE even longs to bless us abundantly, but HE wants us to have the right motives when we ask of HIM.
“I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.”–Jeremiah 17:10
In 2 Chronicles, we note how blessed Solomon was as a king. (I encourage you to read all of 2 Chronicles 1) He sought GOD with all of his heart, and when GOD told him to ask whatever he wished, Solomon’s heart was right towards GOD and he humbly asked for GOD’s wisdom, that he would lead the people in the ways of GOD as he reigned as king. Solomon didn’t ask for riches or for fame, but instead asked for the very heart of GOD. GOD honoured him and because of Solomon’s humility, he was not only given GOD’s wisdom, but was also given those things he did not ask for. When we come to GOD with a humble heart and desire the things HE desires, HIS blessings will naturally begin to flow into our lives without us even having to ask HIM!
“Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?”-2 Chronicles 1:10
“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask GOD, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”–James 1:5
If you have trouble with desiring the things of GOD, the first step is to ask HIM to give you the desire to desire HIS heart. HIS will! Reading HIS WORD and spending time in HIS presence will help us to develop a heart after HIM and HIS desires instead of our own. We will begin to walk in the spirit, going after the things of GOD, and going less after worldly desires. We will no longer be satisfied by temporary things but will desire things that are eternal.
“So then, just as you received CHRIST JESUS as LORD, continues to live in HIM, rooted and built up in HIM, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”–Colossians 2:6-7
“May the GOD of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our LORD JESUS, that great SHEPHERD of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing HIS will, and may HE work in us what is pleasing to HIM, through JESUS CHRIST, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”–Hebrews 13:20-21
GOD cares deeply for us, and HE knows what we need, even if we may not know how HE will provide it. When we learn to ask GOD for the things on HIS heart, we will find ourselves more at peace than we ever were before. Our character will reflect GOD’s character and others will want to know what is different about us. As true Christians, we are carriers of GOD’s presence and we can help show others the joy, peace, and satisfaction there is in serving GOD and trusting HIM with our lives. HE is a good GOD! Seek HIM and you will lack no good thing!