Matthew 1:20 ESV
20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
This can happen to anyone. The Christmas season gets here, you survive (barely) the parties and purchases and suddenly it’s Happy New Year to all. Except, you’re not happy. You are overdrawn, tired and without any clear opportunities for the next chapter of life. What to do?
But as he considered these things.
One of the most transformative realities of the Gospel is the promised response. As we consider- He answers. Joseph didn’t just wonder- he considered. He wasn’t fixed on the question but rather searched for the answer. Please understand, he didn’t have the answer (most of us never do). Yet, he leveraged everything he did know in order to consider what he did not. In that place- the Lord appeared to him, saying.
THE LAST DEBATE
Our current political season is littered with questions and complaints. Experts in the obvious rally frustrated people to frustrating problems while keeping solutions at bay. Maybe we just like to complain? Or maybe we don’t know? Whatever the case, the smartest of people remain void of the smartest of answers. Tweets are taken down, posts are revised, emails are thrown away, and even conversations are denied.
In a world that celebrates those first to market, such a retort is usually never a good one. It’s rash. It’s hasty. It’s sadly lacking content. Apparently, few are taking time to wait and consider these things.
The other day I was driving around after a big Colorado snow and testing the limits of my Jeep. You can’t drive too fast and you definitely can’t overreact. Before every move, you consider the conditions and apply varied best practices. Every road is different, every turn requires an adaptive response. No texting, no blaring podcast. You just consider driving.
Life has almost become this stereotypical snowstorm. There are so many different conditions at every decision. We must be smarter. But how?
First and foremost we must all realize we have never been here before. History is not repeating itself. Our generation is filled with a different set of opportunities. During that first Christmas, God had never become Flesh before- Jesus was a completely new idea. A virgin had never given birth. The conversation at Joseph’s local congregation didn’t revolve around a prophet soon to be living in the wilderness or some peasant virgin waiting to be chosen by God. Hidden deep in their ancient text was a conversation between King Ahaz and Isaiah. In the middle of curds and honey and a reference to exhausting the patience of God, was the barely noticeable sign from God. No one considered. They couldn’t.
In this same way, we can’t know the implications of every condition. But He can (and does). This is why we must consider. Considering these things is simply waiting on God. It is the admittance of our frailty and limitation and subordinating our decision to the will of God. This is not a lame attempt to fill an upcoming conference. This is about your life going into 2016 and the absolute necessity for you to consider what you are getting into.
We are rolling into 2016 with a different set of norms. Everything has changed again. Why would any of us rush into this New Year with the same plan as last year? We shouldn’t.
St. Peter once experienced a vision that changed the course of the Gospel. Everyone was preaching to their neighbors, but God wanted them to preach to their neighbors. This was a new idea surrounded by new conditions. Peter didn’t get the vision- however, while he was pondering the vision, the Spirit said to him (Acts 10:19). The answer didn’t come with the vision. Peter saw clearly what was going on, but he had no idea what anything meant. I feel a little bit like this right now. There is so much going on and so many voices are speaking to the chaos, but clarity is missing.
What do we do? We consider these things.
CHEAP OR STEEP
Every macro-political decision has a very personal implication. Even corporate decisions relating to almost-trivial matters such as PTO affects your household. Gas prices affect your spending, which affects your child’s wardrobe, which may affect their poise, which affects what clique they hang with. Your spouse’s age affects their demeanor, which affects their current needs, which affects your best response. Everything is complicated.
Consideration is vastly more necessary than ever.
Hopefully, you are considering the opportunities of 2016. Take time now to approach them slowly so you have time to wait on God. He will hear you- and He will show you what to do.
A weekly blog by G. Shawn Scarborough, Pastor of Livingstone Church