Matthew 2.13-15, 19-23
13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”
14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20 and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.”
21 So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, 23 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.
How swiftly things change.
Mary and Joseph have gone from being an excited young couple in love who are engaged to be married, to suddenly expecting a baby and then having to travel more than 80 miles to a distant town, to now being new parents in the midst of the terrifying regime of a jealous king.
A good man, Joseph stands by his commitment to his wife and newborn adopted son, seeking to protect them from harm. Prompted by God in another significant dream, he responds immediately and they begin the journey to Egypt in the middle of the night.
This is not a quick or an easy journey, especially not two thousand years ago, and especially not with a small child.
Yet this is the journey God calls Mary and Joseph to make.
It began with an initial openness from the couple to serve and worship. Hearts seeking after God, wanting to be aligned with His. A willingness to lay down their lives in full submission. A decision to sacrifice their own agendas, plans, expectations and priorities, to be involved in God’s mission to reach the world.
It led to them becoming refugees, fleeing their country in darkness to escape the political agenda of Herod, who thinks nothing of murdering innocents in a bid to protect his position of power.
Being open to serving God however He asks will usually lead us into unexpected circumstances. Full submission to God’s plan is usually costly. Aligning our hearts to His will usually lead to us experiencing more heartache.
Sacrificing our agendas, plans, expectations and priorities is exactly that – a sacrifice.
And yet, as we recognise the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus made, our efforts pale to nothing. We realise it is a privilege to be chosen by Him, cared for by Him, used by Him. And while it might be unexpected, costly and painful, we know there is no other way.
God’s heart is for the marginalised, the broken, the forgotten, the defenceless, the abandoned. His agenda is love, acceptance, welcome, justice, restoration. He longs to comfort the hurting, place the lonely in families, bring peace and hope to places of devastation and desolation.
And as His people, He wants to use us to do this.
The New Year is so often a time when we evaluate our lives and consider our changing futures. As you do this for 2017, we encourage you to seek God. Seek His heart, His agenda, His priorities. There are so many ways to serve Him and He calls each individual to a specific and unique path.
We believe that He is calling many more of us to the path of fostering or adoption. Perhaps you have thought about it in the past but believed it to be too costly or too difficult. It is costly, and it is difficult, but it is desperately needed.
There are thousands of vulnerable children in the UK and they need people like Mary and Joseph. People who will lay aside their own agendas and priorities. People who will respond as they are prompted by God to act. People who will give up their comfortable lives to provide a safe, stable and loving home for a child who has not yet experienced this.
People who will risk their own hearts in an effort to protect the hearts of the children they care for.
If you haven’t already, please consider whether you could foster or adopt. If you have thought about it but for whatever reason not moved forward, please evaluate again whether this could be part of your journey. We know that it is not for everyone, but we believe and hope that it will be for many – and perhaps it could be for you.
Everyone at Home for Good prays that you will have a very happy New Year. If you are feeling prompted to consider fostering or adoption, we would love to talk this through with you. Call our enquiry line on 0300 001 0995.