you have found favor with God…(Luke 1:30).
Mary was a woman who found favor with God. The blessing she would receive from God was not necessarily something that would have been simple for her to embrace, because with it would have come a tremendous amount of chastisement from the people who surrounded her. People who didn’t understand that the power of God was able to grow a child inside the womb of a virgin.
Why then do we think that the blessing of God must always be something that makes our life easier? Maybe sometimes our life is supposed to get harder and that’s where the blessing is found.
Maybe, just maybe, the hardship has an eternal purpose that we cannot see. You see, Mary’s pain didn’t stop at her pregnancy, it just began and it climaxed at the point of watching her son die a death he did not deserve. For 33 years she cared for her son, loved Him, nurtured Him and sacrificed her time, energy and devotion for Him. Now, she must watch Him die. One could say that God was cruel to Mary, but Mary understood something you and I need to embrace for our lives today. She understood that life is so much bigger than our limited understanding. There’s so much more going on than what we think is best for us in our own little world.
Here’s how we might finish the sentence, “you have found favor with God.”
So, here’s a bigger bank account….
Here’s a healthy, vibrant, happy family
Here’s the job of your dreams
Here’s a ministry to lead
Here’s a problem-free marriage
Yet, as I read the Scriptures I see that finding favor with God looks a little more like this-
Here is a child born with down syndrome.
Here is a workplace struggle or a job loss.
Here is a health crisis.
Here is a wayward, rebellious child or maybe a wayward, rebellious spouse.
Here are marital struggles.
When we find favor with God, I truly believe, the greater the hardship, the bigger the assignment God has for us. It may seem that our influence is shrinking and our life has been put on hold, but truly, every hardship is for the purpose of growing our hearts. Which in the end expands our ministry, because it connects us to people with hardships and struggles similar to ours.
Maybe the hardships are because God wants to increase something in us that needed to grow, so He’s allowing for something less than ideal to happen in our lives. He allowed it with Mary, Joseph, Jesus, Paul, Peter, and so many others in Scripture.
I look at my own life and the hardships that I have walked through the past few years and I’m beginning to see that the best perspective for me to have is to praise God that He favored me and saw me fit for such a calling. To view this not as a wasted season, but as an opportunity. An opportunity to give God praise and see Him work miracles of restoration and healing.
We think God owes us a happy, perfect life, but since we live in a world that is full of suffering and pain, we must learn to embrace those hardships, not as a burden, but a gift. We can mourn the loss of something we’d hope for, but we must move past grief into grace so that we can be used of God to bring reconciliation in the darkness. Praise God that He saw in you something that was worthy of such a calling to love a child with down syndrome, forgive the people who betrayed you, fight for your marriage, love a broken, hurting person and love a child who has estranged themselves from you. He saw you fit for such a calling. It’s time to embrace it with joy.
Lord, thank you that you saw me fit for such a calling. I have questioned you for it before, but today, I’m embracing it with joy. It is really hard to do, but I know there’s a bigger picture at stake. One that I cannot see, so thank you that I can sacrifice my expectations of a perfect life, to take up the best life that you have for me, in Jesus name, Amen.