Posted by: mikenicholsblog | July 3, 2011

their obedience

Last night, I did not get my way. My wife and I went to a movie of her choosing. I really wasn’t that interested, but it turned out to be a great (true) movie. Soul Surfer is the story of a young lady who lost her arm, and still fulfilled her dream of becoming a champion surfer. She and her family were Christ followers, but a tragedy still overwhelmed their dreams. What looked like a life altering tragedy was used for God’s glory. Since this movie was based on a true story, the agony, faith and wisdom of the young lady’s parents were especially meaningful to me. It was the second time in a week I viewed an encouraging account of parental struggles.

You’ve probably heard of the “first” couple.  We can all only imagine what life altering changes that Jesus’ virgin birth had already caused Joseph and Mary. But now they have to go to Egypt for protection from Herod. That’s right! God directed Joseph to leave Bethlehem and flee to Egypt. It was 75 miles to the border, and then possibly another 100 miles of travel for safety. Can you imagine what that trip was like with a young child? After a period of time they are led by God to return to Israel, because Herod was dead. Tough trip, but Matthew states prophecy was fulfilled; “Out of Egypt I called my Son.

But then there was more trouble. Upon returning to Israel, Joseph realized that Herod’s son Archelaus was ruling in Judea. Bad news! God then leads Joseph to take his family to that not so nice city called Nazareth for protection. Admittedly, this is a lot of travel for a young family with no great form of transportation. Mary and Joseph were originally from there, but there was a greater reason for this move. Matthew 2:23 tells us

and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.

God’s divine providence is all over Jesus on the run. But as I read about Egypt and Nazareth, and then watched the movie, my thoughts were directed toward the parents. Although directed by God, Joseph wasn’t a robot and his life (and Mary’s) was altered significantly by the unusual requests of the Father. Their obedience to His plan meant personal sacrifice. God’s journey for Christ was placed in the hands of an obedient young couple. And they followed His directions!

You and I are also nurturing someone’s journey. Listening to God is important. There will be times when you think God’s plan makes no sense (I wonder if Mary and Joseph had questions). But it always does! Someone’s future and spiritual journey is attached to our response to the will of God. It doesn’t have the significance of raising and protecting the Son of God, but our obedience still matters. Are you in a place today of listening well and hearing God lead you? Your children, young or old, friends and work associates need you to be listening to the Father.

My young friend in Soul Surfer had parents who I believe loved God. They had hard choices to make in helping her begin again. Their parenting played a part in the spiritual dynamic that caused her end to be a beginning.  Joseph’s obedience to directions from God was significant in the epic journey of Christ.  Just like Joseph, Mary and the Soul Surfer’s parents, you and I have an important role in someone’s journey. Who benefits when you and I listen to the Father well? Someone else….that we love! Go see the movie, and more importantly, listen well!

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