Blessed and Highly Favored | Luke 1:28
Blessed and highly favored.
What do we, as followers of Christ, expect that to look like in our lives?
Do we expect it to mean a life void of suffering and trouble? A life where we get the spouse, the house, the career, the notoriety, and the relationships we believe we deserve? A life where we’re supernaturally protected from every wile of this world? A life where every dream and every desire we’ve ever imagined comes true?
In the Gospel of Luke, we meet a young girl who is greeted by an Angel of the Lord as “highly favored by God”. (1:28) “The Lord is with you!” he exclaims to Mary, before telling her she’s been chosen to mother the Savior of all mankind.
So what did Mary’s life look like?
Pregnant as an unwed teenage girl in a culture that already despised women. Shamed. Shunned. Labeled liar and adulteress far before she knew a man. Scorned. Misunderstood. Somewhere along the way, a single mother. And eventually, a mother who was forced to watch as her precious and perfect Son was brutally mocked, beaten, and murdered for the salvation of a callous people who begged for His death.
Call me idealistic… But none of that is included in my dream of what the abundant life looks like. None of it mirrors what so many of us strive for as we seek the comfort and contentment of living our best lives now.
And yet, her life isn’t far removed from the challenges the apostles faced as well. In fact, upon studying the lives of those who walked most closely with Jesus in the flesh, we learn it was not that they didn’t suffer…
It was that they did suffer, but they suffered well.
I don’t know what you’re going through today as you read this sentiment. You may be on top of the world at the moment, in a refreshing season of harvest and of basking in the beauty of life.
Or you may know that you know that you know you’re a son or a daughter of the One True King, yet “blessed and highly favored” for you right now might look like all hell is breaking loose around you.
As I write this, I sit in a precious season of catching my breath. My fight over the past five years has been one of seven two- week hospitalizations to treat complications surrounding the chronic lung disease Cystic Fibrosis, the autoimmune condition Pernicious Anemia, and a uterine cyst the size of a six month pregnancy. Physical ailments aside, it’s also been a season of tremendous grief while losing homes, churches, friends, and family after leaving multiple facets of abuse behind. To say that there have been more days than not of forcing myself to get out of bed would be an understatement. And if I’m being really real, for a long time “God is good!” was an adage my lips often uttered, but I don’t know I truly believed until I finally began to summit this mountain and gaze behind me.
But now… Now I can say with full confidence that my God is good. My God is faithful. My God is patient and kind and unwavering in His carrying of me, even when I’ve least deserved it (and still do). And while I realize I’m young, and it’s unlikely I’ll never see deep travail again, I know there is a day awaiting me, and all who bear the name of Jesus Christ, when I’ll know of nothing but His life, His love, and His light, untainted and indestructible, for all of eternity’s time.
Whatever our present portion, may we be of good cheer. Because if there is one thing I’ve learned in over forty years of affliction, it’s that His favor is rarely the avoidance of the fire…
It’s “The Lord is with you!” within it.