There was a man who was given a great responsibility to help rear and train up God’s only Son and our Savior, Jesus.
His name was Joseph. He is described as a just man (Matthew 1:19). He was engaged and he respected his fiancée. He made the choice to wait until his wedding day, but while they were engaged, he found out that his soon-to-be wife was pregnant – with Someone else’s child. I’m sure he was hurt and disappointed by the news, but he didn’t embarrass or humiliate Mary. He didn’t publicly disgrace her. I believe he was afraid what other people would say or think of him (as they weren’t married yet), but he was also concerned about Mary – how she felt and how she would be treated.
Joseph had planned on calling off the engagement quietly, but God had a plan, too. Joseph was about to walk away from favor and from his ‘good thing’. He was about to give up before he received his deliverance, but before he could do anything, God sent an angel to Joseph. 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 1:20).
Joseph obeyed the angel. He didn’t push Mary away. He protected her. He endured the difficult times (with her). He didn’t leave her when she needed him. He didn’t allow her to have this baby alone in a stable. Not only did they go through some things while Mary was pregnant, but they also had to go through some things after Jesus was born. God gave Joseph and Mary what He promised, but it was a fight to keep, guard and protect the promise. Joseph couldn’t be lazy. He couldn’t procrastinate. He couldn’t do what God told him to do when he wanted to do it. He had to pick up his family and flee to Egypt during the night – when it was inconvenient, when others were sleeping – because Herod wanted to kill the One who would give life to many. When God told him to move, he moved (Matthew 2:13, 19).
Although the bible doesn’t tell us all that Joseph went through, I know it wasn’t easy. In fact, I’m sure he cried or wanted to cry sometimes, but he held on because he believed what God said. He believed that Jesus was born to save all men.
He cared for his wife, but he also cared for Jesus. Do you remember when Joseph and his family went to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover? Jesus was twelve years old at the time. When they left the celebration, they didn’t realize that Jesus wasn’t with them. They turned back around to Jerusalem and after three days, they found him in a temple, hearing and asking the doctors questions. When they couldn’t find Jesus, this not only affected Mary, but it affected Joseph, too. His mother said to him, Son, why have you done this to us. Your father and I have sought you sorrowing (Luke 2:48). If Joseph could care for a child who was not his biological son, surely God can send a man to a single mother who will care for her children like they are his own.
God gives some the gift of a husband or wife, and others he gives the gift of being able to stay happily unmarried (1 Corinthians 7:7, TLB).
According to the above scripture, to be married is a gift, but to be ‘happily unmarried’ is also a gift. If God gives you a husband or a wife, He doesn’t want you to treat this gift as we would a toy or a new car. After a certain number of years, some of us want something new or something better, but God doesn’t want us to treat people the way we treat things. He wants us to value what He gives us because what He gives us doesn’t lose value.
This makes me think about the prodigal son. His older brother said he was living with prostitutes (Luke 15:30). When the prodigal son returned home, he told his father he wasn’t worthy to be called his son (Luke 15:19), but what he didn’t realize was the moment he humbled himself and repented to his father for what he had done, everything was restored back to him. And guess what? He was still his father’s son. His father hadn’t changed his mind about him. The reason why the prodigal son was doing the things he did with his body was because he didn’t understand his value, but the good news is he never lost his value. And he didn’t lose his position either (Luke 15:22). He just left it.
He that is unmarried cares for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord (1 Corinthians 7:32).
The above scripture tells us what we should be doing while we’re single. Are we faithful to God in this area of our lives? What are we doing with this gift (of being unmarried)? Or maybe we don’t see it as a gift. Are we happily unmarried or are we only happy when we have someone?
Joseph was a good man, a good husband and a good father. He was the type of man that most women would desire to marry. To those ladies who God has promised a husband, there is a ‘Joseph’ for you, but why would God give us (I’m including myself) a ‘Joseph’ if we’re not willing to become a ‘Mary’? Have you ever thought that what you’re expecting from your future husband is what God expects from us, His bride? It was just as important for Mary to be obedient as it was for Joseph to be obedient. Ladies, there is nothing wrong with having standards, but it’s not right to desire for a man to be to you what you fail to be or become for God.
Mary didn’t allow herself to be used by different men, but she offered her body to be used by God. She may have not understood everything Gabriel told her and we know she was afraid (Luke 1:30), but she obeyed. She didn’t resist God. She didn’t fight God. She submitted to Him. Be it unto me according to your word (Luke 1:38). For some of us, that’s been the problem. We’ve been saying yes to what we should be saying no to, and saying no to what we should be saying yes to.
I’m not ashamed to tell you that I’ve gotten involved in relationships that I should have never been in, but so have some of you. I also know that just like the prodigal son’s brother, the enemy will condemn us, remind us of all the things we’ve done wrong and try to make us feel not worthy to be married or remarried again, but God is not looking at what you did then. He is looking at what you’re doing now.
Well, how much longer do I have to wait? I’m not getting any younger. Maybe you’re not waiting on your husband. Maybe your husband is waiting on you. James 5:7 speaks of the farmer who is patient. The reason why he is patient is because he believes that what he’s waiting for is ‘precious’.
Just in case you’ve forgotten, I just want to remind someone today that no matter what you’ve done in the past and no matter how many men have touched you,
You are still precious.
You haven’t lost your value.
And you are worth waiting for.
believe: accept something as true; to accept the evidence of; to have confidence in the truth; to be persuaded; to trust; to expect with confidence
Have you ever wondered why certain things hadn’t happened in your life yet? While I was praying one afternoon, I got my answer. ‘You stopped believing. You gave up’.
It is hard to receive anything from the Lord when you don’t believe. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man think that he will receive anything from the Lord (James 1:6-7).
I didn’t have a problem believing that God heard me when I prayed for others, but I started feeling like God didn’t hear me when I prayed for myself. That doesn’t make sense, does it? Aren’t Christians called ‘believers’? What happened to me along the way? Was I upset because I asked God for something and He didn’t give it to me? Did I think God was punishing me for something I did in the past? Have I been disappointed so many times that I stopped expecting anything good to happen to me? Or was I just impatient?
Jairus only had one child. She was 12 years old and she was dying. He went to Jesus, fell at his feet (worship) and made his prayer request known. My little daughter lies at the point of death: I pray you, come and lay your hands on her, that she may be healed and she shall live (Mark 5:23).
Jesus heard him and began walking towards his home. Jairus believed that Jesus was going to answer his prayer, but then Jairus had to do something that we all don’t like to do. He had to wait. As they were walking, a woman, who was diseased with an issue of blood for 12 years, touched the hem of Jesus’ garment (Matthew 9:20).
That’s right. Jairus had to stand there and watch someone else get what he prayed for. And according to the scriptures, Jesus doesn’t keep walking after the woman touches him. He stops and begins talking to this woman. I can only imagine how Jairus felt. It is during times like these that we feel God is taking too long and that He has forgotten about us. You feel like you’re running out of time and you wish Jesus would hurry up.
We are never told that Jairus celebrated this woman’s healing or that he rejoiced with her. You would have thought that witnessing someone else’s healing would have built his faith, but then he gets some bad news. There came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house certain which said, Your daughter is dead: why trouble the Master any further? (Mark 5:35). He was basically telling Jairus that it was too late and that he ought to give up. Jesus must have known that he was discouraged because He immediately said to him, Be not afraid. Only believe (Mark 5:36). Do you know what Jesus was really saying to him? Despite what has happened, believe Me again. Trust Me again and I shall do what I said. And guess what? Jairus did just that. When Jesus resumed walking to his home, Jairus followed him.
Jairus and this woman were very different. Jairus asked Jesus to touch his daughter. The woman, on the other hand, didn’t wait for Jesus to touch her. She touched him. She mixed faith with works. For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole (Matthew 9:21). What you tell yourself is important. If there’s anybody who should have had low self-esteem or felt rejected, it should have been this woman. She should have been somewhere alone, isolated from everyone, embarrassed about her condition, feeling unloved and unwanted. It had already been twelve years now and that’s a long time, but she didn’t give up.
It is also very important that you’re careful about what you think on. Not every thought is from God. What the woman said to herself started as a thought. Some of you right now are thinking that you will never get married or have children or be who God has called you to be. It seems like things are happening for everyone else except you and the moment you get discouraged, you say things like, ‘I guess I’ll be single for the rest of my life’ or ‘Maybe it wasn’t meant for me to have children’ or ‘Nothing will ever change’. I loved the fact that when Jairus got the news his daughter died, Jesus never allowed him to open his mouth and speak against the very thing he was praying and believing. One of the reasons why the enemy attacks the area of your belief is because he knows that ALL things are possible to him that believes (Mark 9:23) and he doesn’t want you to get everything God has promised you.
Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole (Luke 8:50). Jairus only wanted his daughter to be healed from one thing, but Jesus wanted her to be whole (healed in every area of her life). This is another problem we have. A lot of times, we become angry or bitter because we didn’t get the one thing we prayed for, but God wants to do exceeding abundantly above that which you are asking. I’ll give you a good example. A friend of mine had a sick grandmother. For months, she prayed for her grandmother to be healed, but her grandmother died shortly thereafter. The good news is that before she died, she received Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. Please understand that there was nothing wrong with my friend praying for her healing, but God wanted to give her grandmother something better. God didn’t want her healed physically, but sick spiritually. He didn’t want her grandmother to live apart from Him – not here on earth and not for an eternity. Although we don’t always understand why certain things happen, we must always remember that His plan for us is good.
Do you remember the father who had a demon-possessed son? When Jesus told him that all things are possible to him that believe, the father said, Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief (Mark 9:24). I love how honest and humble this man was. This is what he was really saying: Lord, I believe in this area, but I’m having trouble believing in that area. Please help me in the areas that I don’t believe. Help me to trust You. I want us to be like the men and women described in Hebrews 11:13. Some of them didn’t receive the things God promised, but they still believed God. In fact, they died believing God.
I’ve heard stories of people who went through a painful divorce and swore they would never get married again, but one day they gave love another chance. They trusted again. They didn’t allow a bad relationship to keep them from a good relationship. So, I’m going to give Love another chance. I’m going to pray the above prayer as many times as needed. I’m not going to let bad experiences separate me from Christ. When I first got saved, I was like a little child. Trust wasn’t an issue. I believed everything God said…and I want that again – for me as well as for you.
[Scripture references: Matthew 9:18-26; Mark 5:21-43; Luke 8:41-56]
wait: stay where one is or delay action until a particular time; to stay in place with expectation
I think one of the reasons why we get ourselves in a mess from time to time is because we don’t want to wait.
In Luke 15, a certain man had two sons and the younger son had a waiting problem, too. Father, give me the share (portion) of property (estate, inheritance) that is coming to me (vs 12, ESV). According to his statement, it wasn’t his time – yet. Normally, a person has to die before his/her property is transferred to another person, but this young man couldn’t wait for his father to die. He wanted to possess what was promised to him NOW. There is a right time for everything, but when you refuse to wait, impatience leads to stupid mistakes (Proverbs 14:29, CEB).
He was where he needed to be, but not many days after receiving what rightfully belonged to him, he left for a country that was far away – from his father, from his position and from the life already chosen for him. Had he understood all that his father had, he would have never asked for a portion. His father was training him and preparing him for what was coming to him, but he left the process prematurely. He thought he knew more than his father. He thought he had it figured out. What he didn’t know was that responsibility came with the inheritance. I’m not sure of his age, but asking for something only to use it on oneself was a sign of immaturity.
Sometimes the enemy will try to convince you that you’re missing out on something or that you’re running out of time. I don’t know what he was in search of, but whatever it was, he never found it because it was in the place that he left. He wasted his substance living a life contrary to the one that he was taught. He knew right from wrong. The moment he spent it all, a mighty famine came and he began to be in want. He wasn’t prepared for a time such as this. When he lived with his father, he didn’t want for anything, but in this country, he had to toil and no one gave him anything. He was feeding another’s man pigs, but he himself was hungry – so hungry that he desired to eat what the pigs were eating. No one cared for him or took care of him like his father.
I’m not sure how long he worked in the fields, but he was literally in a mess – a pig’s mess, to be exact. He probably was afraid to go back home. What would his father say? Would his father receive him again? Maybe he was too ashamed to go back home so he tried to stick it out. He tried to fix what he messed up. He tried to make things work. But one day, he finally came to his senses. He remembered that his father was rich and had hired servants. So, if his father was rich, that meant he was rich, too.
Some of us have been in situations longer than we should have been. You’re not waiting on God. God is waiting on you to come to yourself. The younger son made a choice – to arise and go (vs 18). Yes, he could have left at anytime, but he had to first want to leave. He had to get tired of being in that situation. He could have said, I want to go home, but I don’t have the money, which would have been a true statement, but he didn’t let anything stop him. He had been in that field long enough.
Make a choice, not excuses.
This young man didn’t wallow in guilt or self-pity. He didn’t beat himself up over his mistakes. He walked away from his past and walked into his future. You must do what he did and lay aside the weight. You’re not going to go very far in life (or in ministry) being bitter, angry, refusing to forgive, blaming other people or refusing to do what God told you to do. The ability to get up – to arise – is in you. The only person who is stopping you is you.
It was going to be a long journey back home, but that journey was life changing because it caused him to humble himself and to repent of his sin (vs 21). What was so beautiful about this parable was that in the end, he got what his father wanted him to have all along – the best!
Bring forth the best (vs 22).
To every purpose, there is time. Don’t focus on the time – When is God going to do it? Focus on the purpose – What am I doing now? I know we want things now, but if you learn to wait, you will not be disappointed because the Lord is good to those who wait for HIM (Lamentations 3:25).