"The angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God." (Luke 1:30)
The past few weeks I have been praying that God would grant me favor. That He would find favor with me in some certain areas that I have been praying over and about. This morning as I was spending time with Him I once again prayed for favor, it's written down in my journal "Oh Father show me Your favor."
After my personal time, I turned in my Bible to the first chapter of Luke to work on my Sunday morning Small Group lesson. I read Luke 1:30 and it's like the Holy Spirit whispered to me, "Do you really know what you are asking for Nicole? Go and see what it really means to have the favor of God."
So I went for my Strong's Concordance and began a word search on the word "favor".
Hmmmm let's see...
In Genesis 39:21 I read that Joseph had found favor with God.
In Exodus 3:21 I read that the children of Israel had found favor with God.
In 1 Samuel 2:26 I read that Samuel had favor with God.
In Esther I read that she found favor with God.
In Job I read that he had found favor with God.
In Daniel 1:9 I read that Daniel had found favor with God.
Then of course there is, John the Baptist, Mary, Jesus... all these found favor with God.
Hmmmm now lets' see...
Well Joseph was sold as a slave into a foreign land by his brothers and put into prison for a crime he didn' t commit. That's favor?
Israel is chased by the entire Egyptian army and pursued after their deliverance and has been through a Holocaust and still to this day is hated by the world. That's favor?
Samuel had to go to the man who taught and trained him and tell him that God was removing him and his entire family from their position and then he had to deal with Saul. That's favor?
Esther was taken from her home as a captive and forced to parade before a king hoping to win his hand and then had to stand up to this king at the risk of her life to save her people. That's favor?
Job lost everything he had and then had to put up with sucky friends. That's favor?
Daniel was taken captive as a child, falsely accused multiple times, and thrown in a lion's den. That's favor?
John the Baptist lived in the wilderness, was hated by Herod, thrown in prison and beheaded. That's favor?
Mary was found pregnant when engaged to be married and had to flee for her life so as not to be stoned then had to watch her firstborn Son endure the cross. (If you have ever had to watch your child suffer you know the pain of this moment.) That's favor?
Jesus... by His stripes we were healed, He bore the sins of the entire world on His shoulder's. Was obedient to the point of death even death on the cross. Laid aside the glory of heaven and took the form of man. Just to die for the ungodly. That's favor?
Yes, that's favor. The favor of God. The favor of God does not mean a life of wine and roses. It means a life of water and thorns. It's living a life of knowing that the fulfilled purpose of God is worth any temporary discomfort in the present. So if you are like me and you have been praying for the favor of God. Do you know what you are really asking? Have you counted the cost?
The Lord had to stop me for a moment and check me. He had to remind me that getting His favor was not the same as me getting my way. So was my prayer really "Oh Father show me Your favor" or was it "Oh Father give me what I want." I honestly think that as I wrote that and have been praying it these past few weeks it was the latter.
So now with a freshly humbled heart, one that has been striped by the belt of Truth I must reconsider my prayer...
Do I still now in full knowledge seek the favor of God?
Yes, I do.
But no longer according to my will...
Oh Father, Thy will be done.