Read His Words Before Ours!
“Whoooo.” I expelled the mouthful of air as pressure stretched like a band across my taut belly. That was a strong one, I thought. They are getting longer. I leaned back against the rough straw and continued to breathe slowly. In, and out. In, and out. I could feel my nose wrinkle at the musty smell, and I laughed quietly during the moment’s reprieve.
“Drink some water, Mary.” Joseph tipped the small cup to my lips. Cool liquid spilled over my teeth and I swallowed quickly in an effort to beat the next contraction. “It won’t be long now, don’t worry.” His voice was steady. I rested my hand on his and squeezed gently.
Dear Joseph. My thoughts drifted.
What kind of man would believe that his betrothed was expecting a baby fathered by the Lord, let alone stay by her side, never wavering? What kind of man would set aside fear of what others might think or say, forsaking what his culture dictates must be done?
The answer came quickly. A man who listens to God.
A man who will shepherd well.
Shepherd? Well…that’s perfect, isn’t it? I chuckled again, and Joseph glanced over in concern before returning to his task. My laugh gave way to a quiet gaze as I surreptitiously watched him tidy what he could around the small space. This probably is a rather frightening scene. His young bride, not yet known by him, but miraculously pregnant with the Son of the Most High… and about to give birth on a bed of straw with sheep rustling about just a few feet away. What must he be feeling?
What are You thinking, Lord? I pressed gently on the side of my belly to see if I could feel the outline of a tiny, holy foot, but another contraction caused my muscles to tighten. I gripped the cup in my hand tightly and breathed with intention, my knuckles white against the dark clay. In, and out. In, and out.
“Joseph.” In a flash, he knelt by my side. “Soon,” I murmured.
My throat constricted suddenly, and I felt breathless in a wholly different way as the events and emotions of the past nine months rose from my belly and began to stir in my mind. How could any of this be? And yet, it was. We were finally at the brink of fulfillment, after months of trusting, questioning, and praying. Sudden tears pricked my eyelids.
Months of rejection and isolation. Our friends and family had been…confused, to say the least. That’s too kind, I thought. They were like strangers. They didn’t understand. And how could they? We didn’t understand, either.
But we believed the Word of the Lord.
Joseph’s rough hand settled over mine, and the comforting weight of it soothed me. I glanced up to find concern pooling in his dark, warm gaze. “You’re doing great, Mary.” I nodded gratefully, unable to articulate the words. His lips curved in a wistful smile, and I recognized that he understood.
Of course he did. His own family had treated him like a pariah. No one believed the babe I carried wasn’t his own. Everyone urged him to divorce me, and when he didn’t, they assumed that his conscience wouldn’t allow it because the baby was his.
And he carried the weight of it all silently, with grace and kindness. He had been a perfect model of support and shelter, always caring for my needs and those of our little soon-to-be family.
Another wave rippled across my abdomen, and this time, beads of sweat broke across my forehead. Joseph counted quietly beside me and dabbed my temple with a piece of cloth. I breathed. In, and out. In, and-
Lord, WHO AM I? The sudden, silent prayer stirred up from my spirit and startled me as it tore through my soul, in tandem with the sudden succession of contractions which seemed to take over my body.
Why me? Why US?
I am not worthy to mother the Son of the Most High! Lord, what are You doing? I believe You and Your Word, but I don’t understand.
What if we say the wrong things?
What if we don’t teach Him the things You want us to teach Him?
What will He think of us as He grows?
We are not sinless, we make sacrifice for our sins just like everyone else.
I am your servant, and I will do what You have asked,
In, and out. In, and out. Through flowing tears, I felt my heart rate slow as I breathed once again and realized the waves of pain had ceased. The blood rushing through my ears went suddenly silent as I realized I was hearing something I had never heard before. Confusion and joy battled in my mind, and I realized it sounded something like…rushing water. My heart stopped for a moment as I searched desperately for the source.
There. With Joseph.
He was standing near my feet, facing way from me. His broad shoulders shook with emotion. Slowly, he turned toward me, and I could see that he was openly weeping. His big, strong hands trembled, and everything in me stilled when I saw what he held there.
Who he held there.
“Yeshua.” Jesus. His name slipped across my lips like honey, and as Joseph handed Him to me, I was flooded with sudden, perfect peace.
He is here.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!