During his life Joseph grew in his ability to trust God. How difficult it must have been to believe Mary’s story! So, since he didn’t trust her version of the story about her pregnancy, God sent him an angel in a dream. Now, Joseph had to trust that his dream was not a product of his own imagination. Wouldn’t it have been more convincing if the angel had appeared to him in person, the way Mary had been visited by an angel? And yet, something about the dream triggered Joseph’s faith. He believed what he heard in his sleep. I suspect, though, that a new doubt flooded him as soon as he believed the message of the dream. He might have wondered: “Who am I to raise the Messiah! I can’t do this! I’m not worthy of this responsibility and I will make mistakes!” Maybe the questions lingered only a second, or maybe he had to get down on his knees and go deep into prayer before he could feel God’s assurance. Either way, he chose to trust God, which gave him the freedom to feel assured that God would help him take care of Mary and the child.
Years later, when Jesus was twelve years old, Joseph’s trust was again stretched. He lost the child for three days! He had to choose repeatedly, moment by moment, to trust God no matter how long the boy was missing. You and I have to trust God the same way. We can either look at the evidence that says how bad things are — and live in worry — or we can look at God and remember that he cares with infinite love and is worthy of our trust. David chose to trust that God would protect his throne forever. Abraham “hoped against hope” (which is the meaning of trust) that although he and his wife were well past their child-bearing years, he would become the father of a great nation as promised. And Jesus had to trust that his death upon the cross — and all of its excruciating pain and the tortures before it — would lead to the glory of resurrection and the redemption of the world. To journey through the cross to resurrection, to move from pain to glory, trust is necessary. In each problem you face today — especially the long-standing ones — stop and think about the choice you have: You can worry and be afraid or you can trust God. Ask St. Joseph to help you!