Read: Luke 1:26-38
Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you! (v. 28)
Before my first chemotherapy treatment, I cried out fearfully and desperately to the Lord. I had watched my 46-year-old father succumb to the side effects of chemotherapy by contracting a fungal infection that took his life. I wondered if death in my 40s would be my destiny too. That day I opened up my Bible to the daily reading, “The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deut. 33:27). The assignment ahead of me did not change. However, through his Word, God assured me he was with me. When God sees fear, he favors.
God drops a life-altering assignment into Mary’s life. Gabriel assures Mary, not once, but twice, of God’s favor. God knows Mary needs this assurance: when she tells Joseph and her parents; when stares of condemnation fly her way; when the Law cries, “Stone her”; when she and Joseph flee to Egypt with baby Jesus; when she loses the boy Jesus at the Passover Feast; when she mourns at the foot of the cross. To favor means to grace or to endue with special blessing. When Mary’s assignment feels unlike favor, she will ever remember the words spoken over her, “The Lord is with you!”
Life’s hard assignments cause us to wonder about God’s presence with us. Yet as with Mary, God delights to reveal he is with us and that his favor rests upon us. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31). —Michelle Christy
Prayer: Open our eyes and hearts to see and hear your favor, O Lord!