Devotional 9th January 2020
No Cotton Wool
When they had gone an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. ‘Get up,’ he said, ‘take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.’” Matthew 2:13
Happy New Year! As I prayed about this devotional I had a deep sense that God wants us to be rooted in hope and growing in our trust in His huge love for us.Sometimes when we sing songs and hear sermons about His love, care and protection we might hope therefore that life should be easy or at least easier! After all if the God who created this universe is looking after us, surely He can stop anything bad from happening to us?
But as we see in this story about Mary, Joseph and Jesus it becomes clear that being loved and watched over by God never exempts us from experiencing tough times. Mary and Joseph had been through so much: the trauma of Mary becoming pregnant with God’s Son before they were married; getting safely to Bethlehem when Mary was so near her time and facing the horror of having nowhere to stay when she was actually in labour. Bam, bam bam, one trauma after another and even the shepherds arriving full of holy excitement must have been overwhelming; not forgetting the visit of the 3 Kings.
If I’d been Mary and Joseph I’d have heaved a sigh of relief once the kings had left and thought ‘at last this is all behind us and we can get on with our lives!’ But that was not to be for Joseph was rudely awakened by an angel and told that they needed to leave immediately to live in Egypt!And the reason why?Not because of the beautiful location or cultural climate that God wanted His son to grow up in but because Jesus was in danger of being murdered.So now they are running for their lives and staggering under the responsibility of caring for God’s precious son.
Are you also facing an overwhelming situation at the start of this new year? Have you come through something huge only to find that an even rockier path seems to be opening up instead of the peace and rest you’ve been longing for? Are you struggling with doubts about the reality of God’s love and care?
God wants to say to you, ‘Be at peace beloved child for I am indeed watching over you and will never leave you or forsake you. You are constantly surrounded by my loving care. Just as I spoke to Joseph and guided him in that time of great difficulty, so I will speak to you and guide you. I cannot wrap any of my children, even my own Son, in cotton wool for if I did what message would you have to share with those you love? There is pain and loss and struggle in this world but just as I was with Mary and Joseph, empowering them to trust and grow and become mighty children of God, so I AM with you too. I am with you and know all that has happened and all that is to come. I am constantly working in your heart, speaking my peace to you and dancing with delight as you mature in my love for you and the hope of all that I am bringing about in your life. Be at peace for all my promises to Mary and Joseph were fulfilled perfectly, and will be for you too.’
Father thank you with all our hearts that you are with us and never let go of us. Forgive us for those times we’ve doubted your love and care. We choose to trust you and listen for your wonderful voice of love and guidance. Thank you that you are constantly working in our hearts in every situation we face, to make us more and more like your precious Son Jesus. We worship you and love you.