Matthew 1:20-21: “But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’”

What would you do if your fiancé told you a story that sounded like a lame excuse?  Nothing made sense to Joseph anymore after seeing his fiancé returning from her recent family visit, three months pregnant. Pregnancies usually serve as physical evidence that a man and a woman had sexual relations. Claiming otherwise would be foolish, which is why Mary’s pregnancy is still controversial today. A woman getting pregnant without a guy being involved – why would God do such a thing?

Joseph was confused. It pained him to think that Mary would go behind his back with a secret relationship, dishing a lie to explain away her pregnancy, and then asking him to marry her to cover it all up. 

In sleepless nights to follow Joseph would wrestle with the prospect of putting Mary’s life on the line if her pregnancy out of wedlock became publicly known. After agonizing over his decision, he finally considered quietly breaking the engagement. Anticipating Joseph’s reaction, God sent His angel. In a dream God’s messenger confirmed that Mary had in fact told him the truth.

600 years before these events transpired, Isaiah wrote down a famous prophecy (Isaiah 7:14):

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”

God has sent prophets and angels to broadcast His intentions centuries ago, long before they became reality; He did that so that we are able to put two and two together and recognize a sign from God when there is one. “A virgin bears a child” is a prediction fulfilled. Nonetheless, despite angel accounts and prophet proclamations, it still requires faith to believe Mary. We know that Joseph believed that the child she carried in her womb was the Son of God. Similar to Joseph, we too have a choice to make.

Would you take that leap of faith and believe the outrageous story of Christmas to be true?

Psalm 138:8: “The Lord will work out his plans for my life— for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me!”

Broken pieces. A pile of rubble. Chaos. Nothing seems to make much sense!

Yeah, life can be a puzzle sometimes! Our lives are strangely unorthodox with curve-balls flying, flawed decisions backfiring, raw emotions taking its toll. We may not see it, but somehow life still works out with God working behind the scenes. All we need is faith.

Faith is a weird thing, kind of a balancing act between doing something and waiting things out. Faith creates optimism; we don’t know which kind of happy ending awaits us after the show is over, but we do know it’s going to be a happy ending. We might as well enjoy the ride!

From God’s perspective we are a piece of art. Broken, yet beautiful; Lost, yet restored; God is immensely proud of His creation. Human beings have been the Wildcard; however, God does not give up easily. If anything, He has learnt to fly with the punches. He fixes things. He is a Healer of broken hearts. And He is an Artist. He knows how to make things beautiful.

Trusting in God is having faith in Him who can turn things around. A peculiar habit of His is to work with us. God doesn’t just overrule a bad situation and – poof! Abracadabra – turns it into something completely different. He takes our broken pieces and builds something wonderful with it. He creates, protects and endorses life. God never throws life away. He hates waste and because of that He works with what we’ve got. His devotion and dedication ultimately conquers death. Resurrection from the dead is based on God believing in us and us believing in Him.

God is dedicated to making things better; He is life giver, but most importantly to me: He is Life restorer.

Hebrews 11:6: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

Drawing a connecting line between “Almighty God” and “impossible”, there are just few things impossible for Him: it is impossible for God to lie and it’s impossible to please Him without faith.

Our impossibilities on the other hand are numerous. It’s impossible for us to get a grip on aging. It’s impossible for us to beat death. Unfortunately, it’s not impossible for humans to lie. However, like God, we will have a problem with people who don’t believe in us. And in a strange sort of way, that puts us in God’s shoes.

Granted, there’s no way we could fill His shoes, but that’s beside the point. It’s in instances like that when I notice we’re related to the Father of Creation. As His creation we’re as closely related as we come. So it’s no surprise that we find we have things in common with God. And I think that helps us growing closer to the One who is called mysterious.

Job asks us an interesting question (Job 11:7):

“Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?”

Well, can we? Probably not – another impossible thing for humans to do is to understand God fully. Personally, I’m fine with that. How boring if we could figure out everything! Where is the element of surprise? But then that doesn’t mean we give up trying to understand Him; in an attempt to decipher God’s handwriting we’ve been exploring the world.

Back to God’s impossibilities: there is nothing we could do to please Him, unless we have faith in Him. And while at first sight this may sound a bit outrageous, imagine a person in your life who doesn’t believe in you. Every time you needed encouragement to make a bold move this person would point out your weaknesses as a potential hazard. Picture yourself being around that person for any length of time and ask yourself this question: Would it be possible for this particular person to please you with expensive gifts? This is highly hypothetical of course, but I think this gets the point across why in the realm of faith we show our true colors and exhibit signs that we’re related to the Almighty.

If God is just a word He simply dissolves into black and white while the do’s and don’ts begin to dominate our thinking. Without faith, God becomes a lifeless rule book, and we need to ask ourselves: how good are we really at playing by the rules? I’d say, this has never been our forte. Even if it was, God wouldn’t be pleased, and rightly so!

Let’s put our trust in God. After all, we have it written on our US Dollar bills, haven’t we? We believe in God, and God believes in us – that’s how faith works. Without faith, nothing really works.

Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of realities not seen.”

Obeying God blindly reveals that we trust Him infinitely. This is also called: stepping out in faith. Abraham is a prime example. He left his home turf and everything that was familiar to him to go on a journey with unknown destination. Here is what God told Abraham (Genesis 12:1):

“Go from your country, your people, and your father’s household to the land I will show you.”

Leaving our home and migrating to completely unknown territory is a great challenge for everyone, and so it was for Abraham. God challenged Abraham more than once in his lifetime, and he responded to whatever God called him to do, which is why he is called the Father of Faith today.

Have you ever challenged someone to do something that seemed quite daunting to the other person, and yet, you knew, this person is going to finish the task and grow in the process? It could be a scenario at work; it could be a parenting situation. Here is the deal: Would you ever belittle the outcome of the person who went to work for you, tackled the issue, and the result was less than perfect? Probably not! Maybe you would offer some constructive criticism, but all in all you would encourage the person who just jumped into cold water for you.

In the same manner, whenever God challenges His children to do something, He is not expecting perfection. Jesus had Peter’s back when He challenged him to get out of the boat, as we read in Matthew’s gospel (Matthew 14:29-31):

“Come,” he [Jesus] said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

If we obey God we can rest assured He has our backs. Maybe it’s nerve-racking, but we won’t regret following through with whatever God puts on our minds and hearts to do. James strongly supports this idea in his letter (James 1:22):

“Be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deluding yourselves.”

Believing shows its true colors when we actually do what we profess – we walk the talk. It’s an awesome thing to be challenged by God and live to see the outcome of our blind obedience. But even if we don’t live to see it, we will leave a legacy. Steps of faith always leave footprints stirring up love, stirring up hope, and creating something new, something beautiful.

God highly values our faith in Him, in fact, it seems that every time He beckons us to go out on a limb and we follow through, we grow a little closer to Him. So, why don’t you believe God, and step out in faith today? You’ll be amazed to find His heart in the process!

“I will seek You in the morning
And I will learn to walk in Your ways
And step by step, You’ll lead me
And I will follow You all of my days” (Rich Mullins)