Follow the Plan
Sometimes it is hard to submit to a plan that you did not create. What if there is a better one? Were all factors considered? Ahaz had such questions. So did Joseph. God tells Ahaz to ask for a sign. Ahaz refuses ~ not until all of his questions are answered to his satisfaction! God spoke to Joseph in a dream and told him to change his plans to divorce his wife Mary. Like Ahaz and Joseph we are tempted to cry foul since God didn’t submit his plans to us for pre-approval- and possibly some extensive editing on our part!
Patiently God listens to us passionately state our case, claim our rights and even question whether he is being fair and just to us. All the while what we are really saying to God is “I’m scared and I don’t know if I can trust you with my life!” Finally, Isaiah can’t take it anymore and intervenes on God’s behalf: “Listen!! Is it not enough for you to weary people, must you also weary my God!” God’s respect for our free will almost seems extreme. But it must be so. Without freedom love is impossible. We must freely listen, freely ask, freely trust and freely obey. But with the same freedom we can also deny, ignore and turn our backs on him.
So, this Advent God reassures us in the best way that he knows how: “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife…” (Matthew 1:20) and “Do not fear Mary, you have found favor with God” (Luke 1:30) and to Zechariah, “Do not be afraid, God has heard your prayer” (Luke 1:13) and to the Shepherds: “Do not be afraid. I bring you tidings of great joy” (Luke 2:10). God not only commands us not to fear but tell us why we should not be afraid: Because His name is Emmanuel, which means God is with us! We should trust his plan because he designed it. We should follow his plan because he walks with us.