When Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt. “Get up!” the angel said. “Take the child and his mother back to the land of Israel, because those who were trying to kill the child are dead.”
So Joseph got up and returned to the land of Israel with Jesus and his mother. But when he learned that the new ruler of Judea was Herod’s son Archelaus, he was afraid to go there. Then, after being warned in a dream, he left for the region of Galilee. So the family went and lived in a town called Nazareth. This fulfilled what the prophets had said: “He will be called a Nazarene.”
No one wants to be a refugee. We certainly don’t choose that role for ourselves. But when God chose Mary and Joseph to raise the Christ child, their role in God’s story led them to become refugees for a time. The angel had warned them to flee to Egypt by night so they did. Some scholars say they spent two years in Egypt.
Once again, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. He instructed Joseph to return to Israel and assured him the danger was gone. Herod was dead and no one was trying to kill Jesus now.
As they returned to Israel, Joseph learned that Herod’s son was the new ruler so in an abundance of caution, Joseph did not return to Bethlehem, where the danger had been. Instead, he took the family to Nazareth.
Life is full of detours. Some of them are disappointing and some are delightful. Detours are God’s way of getting us to where we need to be. Sometimes that might even include something as undesirable as being a refugee in a foreign land for a time.
If you feel like you’re wasting time in a detour or doing time as some sort of refugee, be assured that God doesn’t see it the way you see it. Be patient and make the best of it because God has reasons we can’t see.
God has chosen you for a role in his story and getting there may not be a straight line. It rarely is. Expect some detours and crummy roles as refugees, unemployed, or whatever. It’s all part of the plan. God never said it would be easy, but it will be worth it in the end.
Lord, I want a bigger role, but you want to humble me by making me do time in detours and small roles. Open my eyes to the purpose in the wandering periods of my life. Give me hope for restoration and show me when you’re ready for me to get up and move into the next phase. I will follow you anywhere, Lord. Thank you for blessing me and giving me fresh insight into your story and my role in it.
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