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Yes, but...

By: Adri Fonteijn

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Matthew 2:13-23 (NIV)

13When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” 14So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet:

“Out of Egypt I called my son.”

16When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:

18“A voice is heard in Ramah,

weeping and great mourning,

Rachel weeping for her children

and refusing to be comforted,

because they are no more.”

19After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, 20“Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.” 21So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, 23and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.

Devotional thoughts

“‘What is it, Lord? What am I holding back? What am I using as an excuse for not serving You in whatever You want me to do?' And then, there by the canal, I finally had my answer. My 'yes' to God had always been a 'yes, but'. Yes, but I'm not educated. Yes, but I'm lame.

With the next breath, I did say 'Yes'. I said it in a brand-new way, without qualification. 'I'll go, Lord,' I said...' Whenever, wherever, however You want me, I'll go”

This excerpt is from the book God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew. Brother Andrew was a missionary from the Netherlands who smuggled Bibles across the Iron Curtain into communist Europe in the ‘50s and ‘60s of the 20th century. Just like Mary and Joseph, he learned to trust God to the point of saying “yes” before he even knew the question.

When Joseph received the message from an angel that they had to leave, “He got up… and left for Egypt." When, some time later they received the message that they should return, “He got up…and went to the land of Israel." And a third time when he was warned in a dream, he again obeyed.

Through the “yes” of Mary, Joseph, Brother Andrew, and other faithful Christians, God was able to do mighty things.

Question to Consider

Is there a place in your life where your answer to Jesus is: “yes, but...” or even plain “no?" Maybe it’s something you’re trying very hard to ignore. What is it? Bring it up in conversation with God this week. God’s plan for your life is good, and you can trust Him.


Dear God, saying “yes” without holding anything back can be scary. I’m afraid that what you’re going to ask will be too big, too scary, too costly. Please give me faith. I want to learn to trust you more, in the same way that Mary, Joseph and people like Brother Andrew trusted you. Thank you, Lord, that you can be trusted with all that I am and all that I have. Amen.

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