Joseph awoke from another dream.  He shared it with Mary, “I thought an angel was telling me to live in Nazareth.”
Mary laughed at him.  “Everyone knows that dreams are just your brain sorting out stuff from the day.  There’s no way that dream is from God!  Why would we go back to where they might think the Messiah is illegitimate?”
“My thoughts exactly!” replied Joseph, “Jerusalem or David’s City are the only places worthy of His name.”
So they finally settled in a house in Jerusalem which had a great view of the temple.
Not the Bible: The Ungospel of Matthew 2:19-23

There are so many powerful truths in this story.

Mary and Joseph returned back to their home town.

This is the place where everyone knew that Jesus was conceived out of wedlock.  And since Joseph married Mary rather than divorcing her – they would have concluded that it must be his baby.

This is the place where they would be social outcasts.  They would have lost friends who would not want to be associated with “sinners”.  Joseph would have lost work because of this.  They would have struggled to provide as a result.

Yet they didn’t run away.

Wouldn’t it have been easier to just live elsewhere and start afresh where they could keep their past hidden?  Where they wouldn’t be judged but accepted as they were?

This would allow people to receive them and what God was doing in their life without offence getting in
the way.  Surely that would have been a better start in life.  That would have ensured a greater start to Jesus’ ministry.

I’ve done this so many times in my life.  Particularly with churches.  When things have got messy I just moved on and burnt all my bridges and started over in a new church.

Problem sorted.

But so often the same issues I was running away from crop up again in the new place.  Why?  Because there is something God wants to deal with that is not sorted.  I haven’t matured in that area.

As someone said “God does not fail us – He always lets us take the test again and again until we pass it”.

Isn’t this so true?

God wants us to mature in our relationship with Him and He is committed to finishing the good work He began in us.

I have so much respect for Joseph – who didn’t run away but confronted the issues head on.  What a role model for his adopted son who had to set his face to Jerusalem to face his death there.  He didn’t run away but confronted the inevitable so that we might have life.

Father, I confess that I have run away from difficulties rather than dealing with them.  I have sort to have an easy life rather than having more maturity and depth in my relationship with you.  Forgive me.  Give me the grace to face my fears with you.  To deal with them together and never be the same again.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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