Three verses in the Christmas story are ringing bells for me today.
Matthew 1:20 But as he was thinking this over, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife…
Luke 1:13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zachariah, because your petition was heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you must call his name John.
Luke 1:30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found grace (free, spontaneous, absolute favor and loving kindness) with God.”
I love how the very first to-do on the angel’s list is actually a to-don’t.
Don’t be afraid.
Sometimes, God will ask us to do things that make a lot of sense. But not always. Sometimes, He shows up and asks us to do things that are so contrary to status quo that we’ll need a big boatload of courage just to face the next step.
- Courage to marry someone who has been called to something so big that your own identity will forever pale in comparison.
- Courage to reject convention and give your son his own name, understanding he is marked by God for a divine and difficult destiny.
- And courage to be misunderstood in every way in order to help bring life to a dying world.
I love these players because of their character and because of their courage. And I love our Father because He understands our fear, but still doesn’t downsize His plans for us. He knows our world is scary, but instead of keeping us always in safe places, He promises to go with us into dangerous adventure. This part of His nature – this swashbuckling discontent with ordinary living and neatly-paved pathways – is seen in almost every story in the bible. I would sure love for it to be seen in my life too.