In Matthew 1:20-31, Jesus’ father Joseph had just learned his wife-to-be was pregnant, and this child, Joseph knew, was not his. After thirty years of counseling people facing crisis pregnancies, I can easily imagine some of the emotions he may have experienced in those first hours: shock, anger, betrayal, grief. Joseph, however, was a kind man. He respected Mary. Instead of demanding that she be stoned for adultery, he planned to break the engagement quietly. But that night an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream. This was no ordinary child, the angel said. The child was conceived by the Holy Spirit and he would save God’s people from their sins.
Have you ever considered the enormity of that message? Any new parent feels the weight of responsibility of raising a child, but can you imagine parenting the Son of God? The Messiah? The burden of fathering Jesus fell heavy upon Joseph’s shoulders. Many challenges lay ahead. People in Nazareth would reject Jesus; King Herod would try to kill the child. Joseph had to get this parenting task done right. And he only had one opportunity to do it well.
At least Joseph knew ahead of time some of the challenges that lay ahead. An angel gave him a personal message forewarning him. We don’t have that advantage. We have no idea what may be around the next curve in the road for ourselves, let alone for our children. But just as God helped Joseph face each challenge as it came, God will help us too. Ask the Lord today to help you overcome obstacles in your path and trust him with those you love.