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Monday, December 17, 2012

Word of Inspiration: We Live By Faith

“But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “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 1:20-21

This must have been a confusing time for Joseph. How many of us actually pay attention to our dreams? Some of us dismiss our dreams when they don't make sense. What if Joseph had done this? Usually this passage is used to teach about the miracle of Jesus' birth, but today I want to concentrate on the faith that Joseph had to act on without understanding the purpose behind what had happened. He probably wondered, how could the Holy Spirit mate with Mary? But he chose not to have her stoned as most men would have done in that time. He chose to take her as his wife and continue on the path of their betrothal in spite of the circumstances. This doesn't mean he didn't have moments of doubt, feelings of betrayal, and times when he questioned his sanity. Other men probably taunted him, tried to convince him to put her away, and snubbed him--and cast those hurtful looks that people give when they judge you.

Today, many parents are faced with the reality that their precious, innocent child has been taken from them in such a violent way after the school massacre in CT. Much of the nation is still reeling in shock and asking why. Others will be saying extra prayers and taking deeper breaths as they drop their children off at school and watch them catch the school bus. We don't have a choice. We must keep living. Parents who lost a child in the massacre have other children they must live for and offer them hope in the midst of their grief. Just like Joseph, these parents and the rest of us must keep going, even though we don't understand. 

Our trust and sense of security in our fellow man has been violated--once again--betrayed. We know these things can always happen, but we live with the hope that they won't. Our faith has been wounded and will need to heal with each new day. Time is a great healer, but God is an even better healer. But rather than turn to Him to bind our wounds, many will blame Him, questioning why He didn't stop this from happening. I have an answer that you may accept or reject. The choice is yours. 

God gave us the greatest gift of all--His love. With His love comes many other gifts that He will not take back from us now that He has given it. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable (Romans 11:29). One of those gifts is free-will. Every man and woman on this earth has been given the free-will to do good or evil. Now that we live in the New Testament, God works through the hearts of men and women. I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people (Jeremiah 31:33). This is that inner ability to know right from wrong. 

We will never know all the things that God might have done to try and stop this. He may have tried to speak to Nancy Lanza's conscience not to buy those guns or teach Adam how to shoot them, but she didn't listen. And we will never know. He may have tried to encourage Adam to think positive thoughts through teachers, mentors, and counselors. We may never know. He may have tried to reach Adam through ministries, programs, therapies, or medications. He may have allowed certain circumstances to warn others that something wasn't right through Adam's behavior, but it was ignored, neglected or excuses could have been made. Again, we may never know. 

God did not do this, nor did He allow this. He is grieving with us and comforting those who will allow Him to comfort them.