This week Associate Pastor Nyahaley Labor is sharing the devotion from Epiphany Lutheran Church:
“’Get up, 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.’ … This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, ‘Out of Egypt I have called my son.’” (Matthew 2:13; 15)
Sometimes in the midst of joy there is pain, there is anxiety, there is fear and there is doubt.
Imagine conceiving when you least expected and giving birth to your first child, one that you have been told will be great. Not only great, but he will be the Son of the “Most High,” the Son of God, a ruler of the nations, and that child will be Holy. A baby that was conceived in an unexpected way. A miracle baby is born, but now this baby has to deal with the daily struggles as everyone else.
“What was the angel talking about?” would probably have been Mary’s thoughts after Joseph told her that he had a dream where an angel told him to take her and the baby and flee to Egypt because King Herod was in search of their baby and wanted to kill him.
Was Jesus not supposed to be the Son of God? The Son of the “Most High”? The one that was Holy? Why would anyone want to destroy Him? Wouldn’t he be protected? Wouldn’t the world know that this was the Son of God?
As children of God, at the peak of our joy and happiness, we are most often met with situations that bring pain, anxiety, fear and doubt.
Mary and Joseph at the height of their joy experienced the pain of fleeing to Egypt to protect Jesus from being killed. Egypt — a place that held the Israelites captive. A place that was known for idolatry, oppression and hostility. Could there not be any other way out? This year, I know so many have thought the same, “Could there not be any other way out?”
Like baby Jesus, we may be destined for greatness but are met with challenges very early in life. And like Egypt, there may be times when we also feel like we are not worthy of God’s grace. The joy of being children of God comes with challenges, challenges that we do not expect. This year has indeed shown us that in several ways. Our faiths have been wavered, our strengths depleted, and our hopes shattered, but God can use us in ways that we never expected.
God can use the worst of us to serve His best purpose. Just like He called His Son Jesus out of Egypt, Christ calls us out of our fears, anxiety and doubt. God shields us from the power of the enemy like he did for Jesus. He is our maker and he uses us as he pleases.
No enemy can stand against God. We must have courage when facing trials. There is hope when we trust in God. Out of our brokenness God calls us just like He called His son Jesus out of a broken Egypt.
“God of power and might, thank you for your saving grace. When we are in danger, hide us and keep us safe. Thank you for giving us your son Jesus Christ who through him you have shown us your glory. Use us in ways in which we can never imagine and keep us close to you. In Jesus’s name we pray. Amen!”