The first time, I was so depressed and overwhelmed. I had to quit my part-time job at a bookstore. Johnny would pack me a small cooler by the bedside and I would be alone for eleven hours, crawling to the bathroom to puke, crying, not even strong enough to read. My mom called one time and said words I will never forget: "God must love you a lot to put you through this." Mom was saying, and it still startles me, that God could ask something of me because He somehow saw I could handle it.
Ok, first and foremost, it's just really wonderful to be blessed by your mom. Thanks, Mom. Now listen to a little bit of the Christmas story from Luke 1:26-31:
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”.
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God
Twice the angel tells Mary that she is highly favored. Mary, we know, would not only deliver the baby Jesus, but raise Him and care for Him and live with Him until He was thirty. Mary was chosen to be the mother of Jesus--she was indeed favored by God.
With that favor, she bore the stigma of pregnancy before she was married. She left her home and delivered her child in someone's garage with only a new husband to help her. She fled to Egypt for a decade to protect her son's life. He seemed pretty normal, going into the same line of work as Joseph, but then He begins to teach, which makes her kind of proud, kind of embarrassed, not all that surprised and yet still shocked, and then He is crucified. We might have seen the movie, but she lived it.
When Mary and Joseph presented this child in the temple, a stranger takes Him and prophesies, "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too” (Luke 2:34-35). Her heart was also pierced. Mary was highly favored of God.
The Bible tells us over and over again that we are blessed when we suffer with Him. When hard circumstances sweep over you, do not assume that you are abandoned by God. This may be your visitation. You may be highly favored.
In hard times, is God enough? When you lift your eyes to Him, those watching you will draw their gaze upward as well.