You Are Highly Favored...Really?
“God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.’” – Luke 1:26-28
Have you ever been blessed in a way that didn’t feel very much like a blessing at first?
We all love to receive blessings from God. We like receiving that unexpected check or promotion or being forgiven when we’ve really messed up. Sometimes, however, God’s blessings can cause a lot of difficulty in the immediate aftermath or, perhaps, for the rest of our lives.
This isn’t an unprecedented action from God. God called Moses to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt and Moses tried to come up with every excuse in the book to get out of it. Jeremiah didn’t want to preach the message God gave him. Jonah tried to run away from God only to get an anatomy lesson on fish from God. God’s call to be a prophet was a great privilege and blessing, but not one that felt great at the time.
Paul had to leave his rising star life as a pharisee and became one of the hunted. Speaking of being hunted, David was hunted a few times in his life.
You Who Are Highly Favored
I wonder what it must have been like for Mary. She wasn’t wealthy or famous, but she was a devout Jew betrothed to a good guy and probably had a pretty decent life. Then God called on her for possibly the most amazing task in history, give birth to and raise the Messiah, the Son of God, the Savior of the world.
Sounds great, but what would it cost her?
It nearly cost her marriage and future. It most likely caused some scandal and snickering. Are people really going to believe the betrothed girl’s story about an angel and a virgin birth? Besides that, how do you raise the Son the God? I felt pretty unqualified when my wife was pregnant and she was just having a regular child.
Great Things Often Require Great Sacrifice
There may be times in our lives when God blesses us in ways that require sacrifice. It may be that we need to walk through something difficult to learn what God is teaching or to be in the position God wants us. It may also be that we are called upon to do something difficult.
Are we going to run from the call, like Jonah? Will we obey reluctantly like Jeremiah? Or will we respond like Isaiah and say, “Here am I, Lord. Send me.” Will we respond like Mary?
“‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May your word to me be fulfilled.’” – Luke 1:38
I like when You bless me, but honestly, I prefer it when it’s without any hardship. Thank You for Your many blessings and help me, when the blessing does include hardship, to respond like Isaiah or Mary.
In Christ’s Service,