Have you ever pondered the life that Mary, mother of Jesus must have experienced? This topic has been on my mind lately while considering how true it is, that God’s ways are not our ways. The bible says that Mary was favored by God since she was chosen to give birth to the Messiah. Yet, if Mary had been born in modern times, in our age of quick fixes and instant gratification; I doubt many of us would see her as favored.
Consider some of the difficulties in Mary’s life and keep in mind that she was mother to the promised Messiah…The King. Mary an ordinary girl, found herself pregnant before marriage due to no action of her own; a socially devastating situation back then. She had to travel approximately 80 miles on a donkey during the last month of her pregnancy which was an undeniable hardship. Mary gave birth in a sheep’s stall rather than in a warm and comfortable room; not exactly what you’d expect for the son of God. When Jesus was a toddler, they fled to Egypt with little notice to hide from King Herod; doesn’t it seem strange that the Son of God would have to run from anyone? Mary and her family didn’t live a life of privilege but rather she was of ordinary income and was married to a simple carpenter. That too seems backward; after all shouldn’t the Son of God live a life of luxury? Think of a mother’s heart as Mary watched her son rise to amazing prominence and then with no notice, her boy became scorn and shame. This poor mom watched as her son was tortured, ridiculed, and killed as a common thief even though he was innocent and even though he was the Messiah.
Her life sounds much harder than most of us will ever know.
This life is the one that God called “favored.”
God could have easily shown her our type of favor every step of the way and made her life easy but He didn’t, he let her live life with all its imperfections and hardships. The reality is, looking BACK on her life as a whole… she WAS greatly blessed and favored.
If an angel stood before me today and said “Greetings woman, you are greatly favored by God.” I would probably think that from the moment the statement was uttered, all would be well in my life and everything I put my hand to would be quickly blessed. That even riches would be bestowed upon me and my family, and that my children would prosper and be blessed. BUT…that is an incredibly short sighted view and a byproduct of our culture of self-gratification.
Our God isn’t a product of any one generation and instead always sees the whole, complete picture and simply doesn’t measure blessings or success by day to day events.
Mary was blessed even though a lot of her life was hard. After all, she has a fantastic place in history that no other woman can ever share and her son still lives and is still performing miracles in people’s lives.
That my friend is being favored by God!
When life is hard and circumstances fall short of expections; when we feel rejected or struggle with a trial; if money is tight and needs aren’t being met, it doesn’t mean that God’s favor isn’t with us.
If our heart is right before God, we can be assured that we are exactly where our great God wants us and our outcomes (the end of the story) will be beautiful too. Remember God’s ways are not our ways: they are far higher than anything we can comprehend.
This Christmas, when need and want are paramount and short term blessings weigh heavily upon our hearts; let’s ask the Lord for eyes to see life through His eyes and to not be discouraged by day to day hardship. Let’s walk on the lie of instant gratification and follow Mary’s example, of hiding the truth in her heart and waiting patiently on God to demonstrate His favor in her life.
May the true favor and blessings of Almighty God be upon you and yours this Christmas season.
By Rhonda Shelford Jansen