Monday, September 14, 2015

The Near Miss

Scripture Texts: Matthew 2; Psalms 74

Before Jesus would have been heading to Kindergarten in most US states there were three attempts to snuff out his light before it really shined. Each time there was an intervention to the plot which proved to preserve the life of the infant Savior. The interventions came in the form of visions and dreams.

First the magi were informed through a vision to not return to Herod informing him of the location of the child. Second was a dream warning Joseph to flee to Egypt. Third was after the time in Egypt Joseph was warned in a dream to settle in Galilee. These dreams were no small matter as they were not leading Joseph and the family into easy situations. It would have been very easy to dismiss the dreams to pursue that which was easiest and most comfortable.

It is possible one of the results of not following the instructions of the dream would have been the death of the infant Jesus. However, this is the Child of God, the one who is the redeemer of all the people of creation. It seems more plausible that God would have chosen another intervention, another route to preserve life. Only Joseph would have missed out on full participation in God's plan. The near miss of this account from Jesus life might not be about the life of an infant, it might be about participating in the Kingdom of God.

Imagine the moment when Joseph told Mary about the dream he had, and how they were to flee to Egypt. Mary was no stranger to the communication of God, yet the call to head to Egypt seemed crazy. They had no family in Egypt, God had often warned about not going back to Egypt. Still, this young couple had to make a decision that would have significant impact on their young family. God was calling them to continue this audacious ride they were already on, and they could have missed it.

God is in the business of calling people. Most often the calling of God is to go to a place we have not been, and a place that requires new things. A leap of faith is required also. This is true for individuals, it is also true for a married couple. God calls us to live in marriage in such a way that God is using our marriage for Kingdom purpose. Our ability to follow the calling of God does not ultimately change what God desires to accomplish. What changes is the experience we have as a married couple.

Mary and Joseph were both familiar with hearing God call them to outrageous things. Individually they could discern the voice of God from the midst of all the other voices. So, when God spoke to them as a couple they had practice hearing from God. If a married couple is going to hear the call of God for their marriage, they need to have invested the time and practice of hearing God as an individual. This practice applied to marriage, will help to manage the near miss of the visions and dreams God has for us.

There are countless times when we have experienced a near miss. Times when we almost went our way rather than God's way. The sense of relief was amazing. There have also been times when we did not follow God's leading and God had to use another way to get us to where we needed to be. The pain is double during these times. We had the pain of the struggle that resulted from a poor decision, and the pain of realizing we missed what God had for us. Through it all, we have learned, and attempt to practice, the best way to avoid the near miss is to spend the time individually and together, listening to God's call.

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