Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod.
— Matthew 2:14-15 (NRSV)
When a new year arrives, I find myself impatient for a fresh start. Some years, the fresh start I anticipate is dramatic — starting a new job or forming a new habit. Other years, the fresh start is simply a return to a more predictable pattern of life after the bustle of the Christmas season. Regardless of the shape a new start takes, I want immediate results. But any meaningful change requires time and patience.
Mary, Joseph, and Jesus experienced a dramatic new start when they fled to Egypt to escape Herod (see Matt. 2:13-15). At God’s urging, they fled the land they knew for a place of safety, not knowing how long they would stay. I imagine that following God’s instructions must have required a great deal of trust and patience from Mary and Joseph as they set out for Egypt, not sure what would come next.
From the stories in this issue, it is clear that even today faithful living requires patient faith. Rarely does God immediately answer the prayers of many of the writers. Clarity about how God is working for good in a situation often comes only in retrospect. Healing, if it comes at all, takes time and care and rest. But the writers in this issue also demonstrate that patient faith is worth the struggle because when we practice our faith with intention and listen for God in the midst of our challenges, we will find that God is with us always. I pray that as you read this issue, you will find strength to persevere and courage to wait patiently to see how God is moving in your life this year.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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