How Could It Be?

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.

Matthew 1:22-24

I can still remember when I first heard "Joseph's Song" by Michael Card. It was during the autumn of 1988. My wife Linda and I had just bought our first stereo (the same stereo that is playing softly while I work today, in fact). In order to have some music to play on our new treasure, we also purchased a Tracy Chapman album and Michael Card's collection called The Life. During my run through the first disc of The Life, I heard these wondering words, "How could it be? This baby in my arms, sleeping now, so peacefully…Father, show me where I fit into this plan of yours. How can a man be father to the Son of God?"

For the first time in my life, I put myself into the place of Joseph. For the first time, I considered how he must have felt as he held Jesus, the baby for whom he would be an earthly father, even though this baby had been conceived by an altogether different, heavenly Father. What I felt in this moment of empathy was overwhelmed, inadequate, and petrified. How indeed could a mere mortal man be father to the human-divine Son of God? How could it be?

Perhaps you've experienced something like this in your life. Maybe you took on a new job that was far beyond your past experience? Or perhaps you went on a mission trip that stretched you way outside of your comfort zone? Or, perhaps, you felt like Joseph when you first held one of your own babies?

God entrusts to each of us and to all of us together far more than we can handle. Right from the beginning, he entrusted his creation to us. And then, when we messed that up, he chose to use us as key coworkers in his redemption of the world. God regularly gives us tasks, responsibilities, and opportunities that will feel overwhelming, if we are honest with ourselves. Like Joseph, we may want to ask the Lord, "How could it be?"

God's answer relates closely to something that Matthew mentions as he tells the story of Joseph's encounter with the angel. Matthew notes that the birth of Jesus fulfills the promise of God through Isaiah, the promise of a son being born who will be called Immanuel (Matt. 1:22; see Isa. 7:14). Immanuel, God with us. In Jesus Christ, God was with us in the flesh. Now, through the Spirit, God is with us still. Through his wisdom and by his power, we can do far more than we could ever accomplish on our own.

So, when you feel overwhelmed by all that God has entrusted to you, and you ask, "How could it be?" Remember God's answer, "I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matt. 28:20). "Not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit," says the Lord (Zech. 4:6).

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Take a few moments to put yourself in Joseph's place after the birth of Jesus. How do you feel? What would you want to say to God?


How could it be? This baby in my arms
Sleeping now, so peacefully
The Son of God, the angel said
How could it be?
Lord, I know He's not my own
Not of my flesh, not of my bone.
Still Father let this baby be
The son of my love.

Father, show me where I fit into this plan of yours.
How can a man be father to the Son of God?
Lord, for all my life I've been a simple carpenter.
How can I raise a king? How can I raise a king?
He looks so small, His face and hands so fair,
And when He cries the sun just seems to disappear.
But when He laughs it shines again.
How could it be?

Indeed, Lord, when I consider all you have entrusted to me, I also wonder, "How could it be?" Amen.

"Joseph's Song," by Michael Card, Copyright © 1982 Mole End Music (Admin. by Word Music Group, Inc.)