I’ve been hit in the face with a hockey puck.
A basketball bounced off my head a few times in elementary school and broke my glasses at least once.
A softball came hurtling at me when I was about 13 or so and slammed into my side.
Most people, you know, see balls zooming through the air straight toward their face and do smart things like step aside or jump out of the way or duck.
Given the choice between fright or flight, I just choose freeze.
It’s pretty much a guarantee that if forced to make a decision in a moment of pressure, I’ll choose the most stupid thing you can possibly do.
Now you know not to pick me for your kickball team.
I need time, lots of time, to ponder and consider a response to any situation, question, or problem. I can’t just hit that reply on the email message and I generally avoid the phone which requires instant feedback. A comfortable phone conversation for me would look like this:
“Heather, what do you think about _______?”
“I don’t know. Let me think about it and I’ll email you back later.”
That, of course, defeats the whole purpose of the initial phone call, which was to handle the problem quickly.
But I don’t do quickly. Quickly for me results in broken glasses, a hockey puck in the face and a sore back where the softball slammed into me.
Quickly results in foolish decisions, words I wish I hadn’t said, poor judgment, and costly mistakes.
The world pushes and pressures with this relentless rush and my heart bruises easily from all the battering.
Yet, I read this Christmas story and see God choosing a carpenter—not a CEO, not a king, not a go-getter or an up-and-comer—to participate in this miracle of God-in-human-flesh.
This simple man named Joseph, surely he knew so well not to rush the measuring, the cutting, or the smoothing of the splintered surfaces on his workbench table.
Choose your wood wisely. Go with the grain. Etch out the plan before carving.
Long-learned lessons of the carpenter seeped into Joseph’s soul.
In Scripture, he doesn’t talk, not once.
He doesn’t whine to God and lament the news that His fiance was mysteriously and scandalously pregnant.
He doesn’t bully Mary into confessions and repentance and demand an explanation.
He takes his time, this Joseph, and doesn’t spew words out thoughtlessly and apologize for them later.
When he hears the news of Mary’s pregnancy,
he had in mind to divorce her quietly. 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 (Matthew 1:19-20 NIV).
In The Women of Christmas, Liz Curtis Higgs writes:
“Joseph did not act in haste. He thought things through. Prayed things through. He ‘contemplated’ (NET); he ‘pondered’ (MOUNCE). When at last Joseph decided to sleep on it, ‘God graciously directed him what to do'” (The Women of Christmas, p. 105).
He gave God time to do the work. He didn’t let circumstances bully him into a corner.
He didn’t react. He responded.
I’m the reluctant student learning this same lesson at the feet of my own Carpenter.
For this is what God, is:
For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything (Hebrews 3:4).
Our Father is building and He’s working slow and never rushing.
He’s asking me to ponder, consider contemplate: ….choose the wood wisely, go with the grain, measure and plan before cutting and shaping.
We try to rush the process. We toss out solutions as fast as the projects pile up at our feet.
And we make a right awful mess.
Yet, He teaches us the rhythm of His grace. The rhythm of His will. The rhythm of His strong hands working slowly, masterfully, carefully…stroke after stroke on the raw wood that is us.
This season, let us slow the rhythm of our breathing to match His.
Refuse to be rushed.
Protect the process.
Take the time.
And consider this…..consider Christmas…..consider the wonder of a Savior come and a God at work and a perfect plan and the God who is the builder of everything.
Originally published 12/13/2013
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now! To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2014 Heather King