Life plans and angels

“What do you want to do with your life?”

This dreaded question is causing a lot of sleepless nights for my student and recent grad friends. So many of us don’t know what happens after the degree and irritatingly, the answers don’t come in neon signs even if we know Jesus.

I try to help but after all my questions of “what do you really care about?”, “what makes you passionate?”, “has God ever given you any ideas?” I remember I am not the one who is going to “solve” this.

So at the moment, I keep going back to Joseph, Jesus’ adopted dad. I find his story brings comfort. What we read in Matthew 1 is that Joseph is a good guy, a faithful guy, a person devoted to following God and clearly someone God trusted with bringing up his one and only son. When Joseph finds out his fiancé Mary is pregnant and he doesn’t know who the father is, he has a serious decision to make. What is he going to do with his life now?

Having weighed it all up, Joseph basically decides he needs to divorce Mary quietly. As a faithful follower of God, Joseph was considering ending the relationship whilst not disgracing Mary even though technically that’s what she would have been due.

Joe makes a decision. And he can’t be unwise or a bad decision-maker because this is the guy God chose to raise his kid. We assume God trusts him!

I think we sometimes over-think our life choices, so worried we’ll “get it wrong” we become afraid to make any decision at all. We panic that God hasn’t told us directly with a booming voice and a flash of light, so we don’t take any next step, to avoid taking the wrong one. And we end up stood still and highly confused.

But God decided your heart was a good place to make a home for his presence. The Holy Spirit lives in you. Jesus knows you and is in relationship with you. Maybe, like Joseph, God trusts you and how you live your life?

So Joseph considers divorce. At this point God intervenes in a dream in which an angel tells him in this case, he needs to make a different decision. He need not be afraid, he can marry Mary and he will have this son and name him Jesus. Joseph, being the faithful guy we know him to be, does as God says and changes his mind and goes with the angel’s guidance.

If we like Joseph are in relationship with God, doing our best to follow him and know his voice, and we consider a choice that God actually knows is not the way to go, will he not tell us too? Can we not have an angel-moment if, in our journey, there is an unexpected cross roads where we need some extra help navigating?

Maybe we are more like Joseph than we realise. If we are fixing our eyes and aims on Jesus, then I think God lets us take steps without booming-voice instruction every minute. I also believe God is the perfect Father, so I am not afraid that he will let me go so far away from His will that I’ll “miss it”. Even if it does mean I meet an angel.

Miriam Swanson

Global Student Mission Leader

Miriam helps equip the church for student mission internationally. She's based in the USA and hungry to see young adults follow Jesus with all of who they are. 

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