A few weeks ago I was privileged to see the Gaither Vocal Band Homecoming Reunion. The entire evening was wonderful! One of the many highlights was hearing Mark Lowry sing “Mary Did You Know?” Since that evening I have been thinking about how drastically Mary’s life changed after Gabriel’s announcement that she was highly favored by God.
We often equate favor with lucrative book deals, worldwide acclaim, and bank accounts measured in the millions; but worldly success does not imply God’s favor, any more than poverty implies the lack thereof. Joseph was a poor carpenter, and Mary was just a teenager. The favor bestowed on both did not make their lives easy. Mary probably didn’t know how difficult her life would be.
She listened as Jesus taught crowds large and small. She encouraged him as he performed miracles. She recoiled at the religious leaders’ jealousy and hatred; and she watched as her son was cursed, beaten, and crucified. From the human perspective Mary’s life appears to have been more difficult than favored.
Mary was not alone in the uniquely favored status. Nobody, other than his family, believed Noah, and I wonder if they did. Joseph was imprisoned. His brothers hated and feared him. He saved the Egyptians from starvation and ruin but was never good enough to sit at an Egyptian table. Moses spent 40 years leading a group of doubters and complainers. David was anointed to replace Saul and spent the next 18 years fleeing Saul’s wrath. Paul, the man who persecuted Christians, was later highly favored by God, yet God said that he would show Paul how much he would have to suffer.
The lyrics of Mark Lowery’s song point us to a simple truth. God’s ways are higher than our ways. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. I don’t think Mary, Noah, Joseph, Moses, David, or Paul fully understood all that God’s call on their lives would entail; nevertheless, they all faithfully served to the end, including Christ’s disciples, most of whom were martyred.
We can thank God for many through the centuries who trusted God even when the road before them became dark and fearful. May we be challenged by their example.
Elder Source Senior Ministries
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