Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.”
(Matthew 2:13 ESV)
God never promises us that life with Him on this earth will be easy. In fact, He promises just the opposite.
When a person repents of their sin and accepts Jesus’ death as necessary and complete for the forgiveness of those sins, he becomes an adopted child of God [John 1:12]. That person is free from the penalty of sin, which is eternal separation from God [Romans 6:23].
This is obviously stupendous news. But we won’t actually experience this until death. Meanwhile, we still have to live on this earth with all the problems we had before we were saved and new ones too. There is a cost to following Jesus [Matthew 7:13-14; Luke 14:27-33].
We can certainly see this in the life of Mary and Joseph. First Mary was told by an angel that she would conceive a child by the Holy Spirit and that child would be very special [Luke 1:26-38]. Then Joseph received confirmation of the same in a dream [Matthew 1:20]. Its obviously speculative, but I wonder if they both thought that because of the special nature of the assignment God had given them that their lives from that point on would be easy. If they did, such thinking quickly came to a halt on the night Mary went into labor as she had to give birth in a stable some 90 miles from home [Luke 2:1-7].
Then a few months after Jesus was born a bunch of strangers show up and shower them with gifts [Matthew 2:1,11]. That must have been cool. But immediately after, God commands them to flee to Egypt because Herod wanted to destroy [Jesus]. Whatever peace and joy Mary and Joseph were feeling when the wise men left was quickly shattered.
But notice that when God gives us an assignment He gives us the resources we need. Joseph, Mary, and Jesus had to leave their lives in Israel to go to Egypt. They needed money to get there and money to live on while there. The gold given to them by the wise men would have served this purpose.
Notice too that they aren’t told how long they will be there. God never gives us all the details. He gives us just enough instruction for the moment [Psalm 119:105]. He knows what is best for us while we don’t (Mary and Joseph did not know about Herod’s plans; God did). All we can do is trust Him and obey, knowing He has our best interests in mind.
Such is life as a child of God. It is not easy. But it is certainly never boring.
Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.