When Finding Favor with God Makes Life Tough

Sometimes finding favor with God makes life much harder. You know the story. Gabriel informed Mary she would give birth to the Son of God. Many thoughts ran through her mind, not the least of which was how she, a virgin, could conceive.

When Finding Favor with God Makes Life Tough

(Photo: by Jolanta Dyr. Own work. CC-BY-SA-3.0-pl, via Wikimedia Commons)

What’s more, Mary knew the social and biblical fallout that occurs for a pregnant woman without a husband. How could she possibly explain that her pregnancy was an of God and not an act of passion?

Finding favor with God meant that she faced disfavor from people. Maybe finding favor with God isn’t all it’s cracked up to be?

Christmas usually causes us to marvel at the virgin conception—and at the love of our God who would become Man so that He could die for our sins. But there’s another part of the Christmas story that amazes me just as much.

It comes from this amazing young woman.

Mary Magdalene—A Change You’d Never Expect

Her name is as well-known as any apostle.

Yet the truth about her life often lies shrouded behind myths, fiction, and flat-out conjecture.

Mary Magdalene—A Change You’d Never Expect

(Painting by José de Ribera. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Modern art and bestselling novels paint her as everything from a prostitute to the infamous woman caught in adultery to the wife of Jesus Himself.

But the Scriptures portray Mary Magdalene as a different person altogether.

Surprisingly, she was more like us than we would expect.

Reconciling Pain and Prayer with God’s Love

Because God can stop our pain, we think He should.

So we pray. And pray. But nothing happens.

Reconciling Pain and Prayer with God's Love

(Photo by Jiri Hodan. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

That’s what occurred with Mary and Martha. They sent a message to Jesus that their brother Lazarus lay sick. But instead of immediately traveling to Bethany, Jesus stayed right where He was beyond the Jordan River. When He finally did arrive, Lazarus had been dead four days.

In other words, Jesus had taken His sweet time showing up.

From what happened next, I see several lessons to help us reconcile pain and prayer with God’s love.

What Comes First in Our Relationship with God?

If Jesus told us He had a criticism for us, we’d pull out our checklist and start down it.

  • “Should I go on a mission trip, Lord?”
  • “Should I pray more?”
  • “Maybe memorize the book of Romans?”

“You just name it, Lord, and I’ll do it!”

The most important part of your relationship with God

(Photo: By Almonroth, via Wikimedia Commons)

I have discovered that slips in our relationship with God never start with the big things. They begin with the basics.

We would never consider waffling in our morality or our theology.

And yet, how often we betray a more basic element.