Mary, Joseph, Faith, and Uncertainty

Faith needs uncertainty to thrive.

Faith is based on hearing God’s Word. Many of us have a desire to have things in the Bible explained a little bit more. Can’t we drop one of those chapters about mildew on walls for some more information about foreknowledge?

But alas, we have the Bible we have. Unless you want to become a Mormon, there are no other books of the Bible to fill in the gaps.

What’s fascinating is how many people in the Bible are in the same predicament as us. Although we like to think Abraham, Noah, Moses, Elijah, and others had more information, most of them were acting on very little.

It was enough that God had said a few things to them. That was all they needed.

Mary and Joseph strike me as two perfect representations of this. Mary was told she would have a kid. There was very little explanation of how. The Spirit would come upon her. Well, like, how? What does that mean?

The baby was apparently the Messiah. What about His education? Do we spank Him? Do we feed Him? Can’t we just sit here and let the baby do whatever He wants; we know He’s going to grow up to be the Messiah. Do we do anything?

There had to be a ton of questions. Joseph not only had questions about his son, but also about his wife. What a tumultuous situation they were thrust into. No room at the inn. Wise men from the East drop by. Flight to Egypt comes with Herod killing babies all because of you, and an eventual move back home.

I can’t even imagine the uncertainty. According to the Bible, there was no further revelation given to them other than around Christ’s birth. The few glimpses we get certainly seems to show Mary not quite getting what was really going on. “Don’t you know I must be about my Father’s business?”

Uncertainty. Lack of information. This is where faith is real.

It’s easy to say you have faith when you have no reason to have any! Uncertainty is a requirement for faith. Learn to enjoy uncertainty. This is the proving grounds and strengthening of faith.

Mary and Joseph were thrown into the deep end. We have this great cloud of witnesses who have come before, who moved on uncertain and inadequate information. They were flesh and blood like we are. In many ways, we have more information than any of them ever had.

Take courage from the long list of faithful people in Hebrews 11 who were as uncertain, confused, and questioning as we are. If they could do it, so can you.