Joseph offers a model of faithfulness

A son nestled against his mother. A daughter rested across her lap. The mother’s unadorned left hand caressed the girl’s back.

The boy looked ten. The girl, seven. The woman was in her mid-thirties. An empty chair sat next to them, the lone vacancy in an otherwise full row of churchgoers.

The children’s father may have been working. He may have been sick. He may have religious convictions that took him to another place of worship. Not all married women wear wedding bands.

He may have given his life in service to us all. My hunch? He was AWOL, missing in action in a widespread war on the nuclear family.

I hear frequently of families’ succumbing to the divisive pressures of the age. Some you expect. Others come out of the blue. None are pretty.

The parties usually believe they are minimizing the effects on the children. I’m sure that’s what my friend’s parents thought.

Years after his parents split, while in his twenties, he faced anger and depression. A counselor’s touch pointed him to the root. He grew beyond the pain of the divorce. Today, he has a joy-filled wife and two handsome sons.

Most people are not so fortunate, or willing. They struggle through life from habit to habit, between relationship and loneliness. They never grasp how an early earthquake rocked a foundation on which their life was intended to build.

Another friend tells a story from his childhood. He travelled with nine other public school honor roll students to a prestigious academic contest in Boston. As they were touring some sites in a 15-passenger van, they attempted to identify things they all had in common. The most prominent commonality? They all came from intact families.

We all know half of marriages end in divorce. The federal government’s National Center for Health Statistics gives more detail.

According to its National Survey of Family Growth, 20 per cent of first marriages end in their first 5 years. Thirty-two per cent end by year 10, and 40 per cent fail by year 15.

So, it’s not just that marriages are failing; it’s that they are falling apart at a time when children need their stability the most.

Some will argue two peaceful homes are better than one filled with discord. I do not disagree when the choice is presented so simply. I do believe, with a little divine help, we humans are capable of more elaborate options.

Who should take the lead in finding better ways to resolve differences that can lead to divorce? I’ll go out on a limb: the man. God has placed a certain mantle of leadership on the masculine gender. It has been used at times to harm. It is intended to mend, bind up, protect, provide.

I know each circumstance is different. Emotional wounds, mental illness and substance abuse can wreak havoc not easily repaired no matter how capable the leadership.

But many situations are no more bizarre than one in Judea twenty centuries ago.

Joseph had reasons to take a pass. His fiancé? Prematurely pregnant. The baby? Not his. His young family? Virtually homeless, forced into two years of exile by a mad king.

But with strong trust and tender strength, Joseph, “a righteous man” (Matt. 1:19), led the family that housed the child that would one day overcome the Great Divorce. Let us follow his faithful lead.


Kevin Thompson writes weekly for The Boerne Star in the Texas hill country. Follow him at

1 Response to “Joseph offers a model of faithfulness”

  1. 1 Matt Price December 19, 2013 at 23:07


    Thank you for this, it was as if you wrote for me, and I need to hear it all.

    Your an amazing person, and I feel very lucky to know you.

    Hope you all have a great Christmas


    Sent from my iPhone


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