Not the one obediently tending his father's sheep on the hillside.
But with the one wrestling with the Father in the darkness of his night.
I don't seem to be able to leave his side. To abandon him to the battle. Waged within. Waged without.
A chord binds us, somehow. Invisible. But I know that I know that I know, to abandon him is to abandon myself.
So together, we sweat it out ... in the darkness ... the stillness that is anything but still.
The canvas making up our darkness differs, but not its need for light, for depth. Nor this hungering after the Artist. This longing for His brush to reach deeply into the palette of His Sovereign hues and scatter them with loving brilliance upon the canvas where only He can paint hope.
At last, Heaven's words falling from angelic lips, give hope utterance.
"And you shall call His name Jesus (the LORD is Salvation) ... "
I don't know how many times I've read these words during the decades of my life. I doubt I could number them. In ways, they're as familiar as my name. In other ways, I don’t know that I’ve ever heard them ‘til now.
For me, they’ve always been prophetic words, come to life at last on the stage of a dusty town two millennia ago. A town somewhere on the slopes of Nazareth, where a man with calloused hands, but a tender and broken heart, lay submerged in the darkness of betrayal.
Into that darkness light blazed. Familiar light. Bearing familiar words. To Joseph. To me.
I wonder when realization fell for him.
For me, it didn’t fall until now.
Yes, the LORD sent the message … Jesus! The LORD sent the name … Jesus, The LORD is Salvation.
But did you notice?
It remained for Joseph to call out the promise. To declare The LORD is Salvation. Not just for the world. But for himself. Into his own darkness … his own despair … his own want.
Yes, it was Sovereign fulfillment on display, designed before the foundations of the earth knew its first planting.
But it also remained a calling to personal obedience.
A laying claim to personal salvation.
A salvation not limited to an eternal inheritance.
A declaration that here, that now, in the midst of the very soil I find myself, only one salvation exists. And its not in myself.
Borne in a name lies the eternal truth. The LORD is Salvation.
Joseph heard … and he called his name Jesus … right into the midst of his own need.
Now it is mine to hear. Mine to obey. Mine to declare, with every utterance of Jesus, the LORD is Salvation.
One more time, before turning to a new page, I look tenderly at this man I feel I've come to know better. We've shared much over these past days. A common thread. And discovered it woven into an eternal tapestry that well ever bear both our names.