"And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, '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.'"
So verse 19 says that Joseph had decided to divorce Mary. Boom. He had decided it. It was as good as done. For all we know, the papers could have been drawn up and signed and the two of them could already have been legally divorced. I'm sure at this point, the angels in heaven were all in a flurry, batting their wings, flying around in circles frantically. Thinking "That's it! He divorced her! It's over! How is God going to save the people now? His plan is ruined!"
But God knew that intervening any time before he did would have been too early. He knew the right time, and he was waiting for it. Verse 20 says "but as he considered these things." This tells us that even though Joseph had decided to divorce Mary, for some reason, he was still thinking about all that he had heard, weighing his options, considering the situation. Maybe there was a little part of him already that sort of believed she was telling the truth. And then, then is when God knew he should intervene. He sent his messenger right then. He was watching Joseph, he knew that Joseph was mulling it over, and he knew that now was the time for him to give Joseph that little push that he needed. And it all panned out perfectly - didn't it? Joseph married Mary, Mary had Jesus, and Jesus saved us all - just like God had planned. So was God too late when he waited to intervene? Not in the slightest.
But so often, so many times, I'm just like those angles, fluttering around, freaking out, thinking that everything is ruined. But it turns out I just like to jump the gun. God has much more patience than I do, and he also has the bigger picture.
So why am I telling you all of this? Well, I'm telling you because I feel like it plays a really big role in something that's coming up in my life. In January, I will have the opportunity to go Panama with Pine Cove Christian Camps to take part in their Campamentos de Impacto program. Essentially, we'll be going to Panama, partnering with a camp, and helping them put on camp for Panamanian children. It's an incredible opportunity to live out the great commission, serve alongside some remarkable people, and further the kingdom. Commission Camping is something that I've been desiring to take part in for three years. The past two years, when the time came to apply, I always really wanted to - it sounded so fun and like such a great way to spend my winter break. But each year, something got in the way, something that always kept me from applying. But after three years of waiting, God finally opened the door and is letting me go. I finally get to stop fluttering anxiously, because I know God's timing is perfect. God wasn't too late in his plan, I was just too anxious and wanted to go too early.
So now, that I finally get to go, you can imagine how ecstatic I am. I have three years of pent-up excitement. And I am ready! The only thing left between me and Panama is finances. Agreeing to go on this trip means I'm agreeing to raising the funds to cover it. I have faith that God will provide the full $2,400 by December 12th. It's a lot of money, but it's going to do a lot of good.
As I look ahead to what God will do with our team during our time in Panama, I've tried to pinpoint what exactly my heart is for this trip. And I've landed on this:
1. "The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith." 1 Timothy 1:5.
This is my heart behind most things in my life, so naturally it spreads to this as well. A big part of my life is simply loving others - whatever form that might take. Sometimes it's service, sometimes is encouragement, and sometimes its accountability, and the list goes on. I just want to love each person the way they need to be loved. It plays out in so many ways, but I firmly believe love is at the base of all good things that we do. Everything stems from love. So the aim of my life is love. If that is my aim, everything else will follow. Christ shows me his perfect, unconditional love daily, and I want to do the same for others. Going to Panama is just another way to do that.
2. "We endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the Gospel of Christ." 1 Corinthians 9:12b
This verse first came to my attention this summer when I was working at camp. I love how straightforward it is - there's no working around what it says. We endure anything, to ensure that the Gospel of Christ is spread. Nothing is more important than making Him known. So raising this money, hours on a plane, a language barrier: it's all nothing so long as I get to further His kingdom. What a glorious mission to get to take part in.
Needless to say, I can't go on this trip without the help from my community. If you would like to support our team as we spread the gospel to the children of Panama, you can go to www.pinecove.com/giving/donate to contribute. Just click on "Commission Camping Trip Attendee" and include my name with your donation. And if you can't give financially, committing to pray for the team is every bit as much appreciated. We could use prayer for the current stage of preparation and fundraising that we are in, and for the hearts of our team, our leaders, and the Panamanians to be prepared for the work that God will do.
I'm so looking forward to the many stories this adventure will spark and I will try my best to keep you updated on them all!