God never loses you

Crowds shuffled by as my daughter and I sat and waited for the rest of our family to return from a ride at Silver Dollar City. Lauren finished her snack, so I sent her the 10 steps across the path to throw away her trash. She jumped down, to do what I asked.

My eyes never left her as she skipped across, threw her trash right in the pocket, and turned to skip back.

Then, she hesitated. Her eyes focused on the crowd, and though I could see her, she couldn’t see me. Panic flashed across her face and her eyes darted back and forth trying to find me, and I got up to go to her. As I moved she saw me, ran back and gave me a big hug of relief.

I squeezed her extra tight. “Did you not know where I was?”

She shook her head, and snuggled in for a tighter hug.

I gently reassured her. “You may have lost me, but I never lost you!”

The same is true of our loving Heavenly Father. He tells us in Galatians 3:26 that we are God’s children through faith in Jesus. Just as a parent attends to his child, God watches over us because He loves us. He knows us, He knows where we are, and He cares about the situations we find ourselves in today. We may feel utterly lost, frustrated, off-balance and unsure. But God sees us. We are not forgotten. He didn’t leave us.

Despite our feelings and even sight-lines, God never loses us. Psalm 121:8 says, “The LORD keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.” There may even be times that we believe God is leading us to step out in faith on mission, and suddenly we turn and can’t find our bearings. Look toward heaven and cry out to Him. We can find peace when our sight fails us by standing firmly on God’s always-kept promises.

For it is the Lord your God who goes with you; He will not leave you or forsake you.
– Deuteronomy 31:6b

Me and my girl, together

Me and my girl, together

Journey to the Manger: Joseph

Jackson and Lauren hold up the family trees we made for Jesus.

Jackson and Lauren hold up the family trees we made for Jesus.

Today we met Joseph on our Journey to the Manger.

Joseph adopted Jesus as his son before Jesus was born. Joseph was a righteous man who deeply loved God. When God appeared to Joseph in a dream to reassure him to take Mary as his wife even though she was pregnant with a child who was not his biologically, Joseph obeyed God even though that meant his reputation would not be the same in his community. Following God was more important to Joseph than other people’s opinions. Joseph brought Mary with him when he had to register in the census, and was with her when she gave birth. He watched over his young family in the stable when the shepherds came, and later as the wise men worshiped. Joseph again obeyed God immediately when he was told in a dream to leave and go to Egypt, saving Jesus from being murdered by Herod. Later when they returned, Joseph taught Jesus the family trade of carpentry.

Joseph

Joseph

Joseph not only worked hard to provide for Jesus’s needs, he gave his son a spiritual heritage passed down from the generations before him. Joseph was in the line of the kings, a son of David, fulfilling Messianic prophecy. We looked at Jesus’ family tree through Joseph tonight, tracing back through the kings, to David, to Jacob, Abraham, Noah and Adam. (Find resources for this Jesse tree project here.) God had been planning this family line since before the first man was created, lovingly laying the framework to introduce His Son Jesus to the world He came to save.

Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.

– Matthew 1:20-21

Regardless if Joseph felt up to the task, he took it on anyway because God asked him to take care of His Son. God gives us similar responsibility when He places our children in our arms. We are to protect, guide, nurture, instill, teach, provide and point them back to God. Even if we feel unqualified, at times a failure, and overwhelmed with the task, we must continue on, trusting that God will give us wisdom and strength for the journey.

God gave Joseph the insight and ability to raise Jesus. He will do the same for us as we raise our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

 

Click here to learn more about celebrating Advent with your family this Christmas, including access to a Scripture plan, free downloads and activity ideas. For more on Journey to the Manger, an advent experience from Focus on the Family, visit the Thriving Family website.