Grace for the Hard Stuff

“Grace does not make the hard thing go away; grace illumines the hard thing with eternal meaning and purpose. Grace gives you company in your affliction, in Christ himself and in the family of God.” Rosaria Butterfield~

Have you ever considered why God sent an angel to Mary to tell her she was the woman chosen to carry his son–and then waited until later to send an angel to Joseph?

In between Mary had to go to Joseph and tell him she was pregnant. How hard would it be for him to believe her? Very hard it seems–since he decided to divorce her quietly–to break what was, by today’s measure, more than an engagement but not quite a marriage yet.

God let the circumstances unfold with no indication that he ever intended to supernaturally confirm the information for Joseph. But then Joseph’s angel came with direction and assurance.

There was another Joseph in the Bible who spent years in prison–years that must have seemed wasted to him. He waited for his life to mean something. And one day it meant a great deal to him and to those who had mistreated him–his brothers who had sold him into slavery. And perhaps even the woman who had lied to put him in prison. This Joseph had no angel telling him all would end well.

A prophet rather than an angel told David he would be king. But God didn’t just swoop down and remove Saul. David had to fight the battles. And he had to fight them God’s way. He had opportunities to kill Saul himself–but he would not harm God’s anointed.

Mary and Joseph, the Old Testament Joseph, and King David had to do the hard work themselves. In the first instance, it would be difficult for Mary not to postpone what would be an inevitable discovery.

In the second case, it would be hard for OT Joseph to hold back bitterness and hopelessness.

In the third case, patience required David to dismiss opportunities he had to make himself king–now.

Speaking up is hard when we know the other person won’t like what we have to say–when we know they won’t believe us.

Not losing ourselves in hopelessness is hard when it really looks like there is no hope.

And keeping our hand back when we know God has His timetable and it doesn’t always (ever?) match ours is hard.

Speak the truth in love.

Fear not, for God is with us if we are His.

Wait for the Lord, for His time. Wait.

And watch what will ultimately (perhaps not soon) unfold.

God’s plan in God’s truth and God’s time–always worth the hard work.

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

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