Have you ever felt like you were trying hard to do everything right but at every turn your efforts were being thwarted? Instead of open doors to the people, jobs, opportunities, resources you were hoping for, all you encounter are brick walls. Funny thing about brick walls; they do not step aside and they show no compassion! For years Chris and I felt like that. We would try and try to break through into the prosperity that we knew God had for us. Chris would try to get the right job and then work hard. We would attempt to do all the right things and pray the right prayers. Yet one heart breaking setback after another would hold us back. We almost felt as though we were cursed rather than blessed. But we knew that God wanted to bless us…so what was the problem?
For years we were undoing the natural consequences of bad decisions we had made…really bad decisions. So the consequences provided for us an excellent education that we are so thankful for!
After that, we began to step into new territory; making good decisions based upon what would please God the most. Surely this would bring His favor. Yet the years continued to go by, and we were still living paycheck to paycheck. Discouragement would try to tell us that God didn’t like us very much, that He didn’t pay attention to our prayers or our needs. But truth keep telling us that just the opposite was true. He loved us like a Father. In fact, we were our Daddy’s favorites. His plans for us were to give us a future and a hope.
Whenever you enter new territory, such as when the Israelites entered their promised land, there are always battles. The current residents will not willingly give up their territory. Yet eventually, they must, because God said so. Just because we have to battle for something, just because it is not easy, does not mean it is not God’s will!
I was reading the book of Esther and marveling at the divine reversal that occurred. In one glorious day, the tables were turned. The Jews went from teetering on the precipice of annihilation to triumphing over all their enemies. They went from being hated and despised to being honored and feared. Esther and her uncle gained great influence over the king and they had won his favor. Everything started to work for their benefit and promotion, and best of all, they would not be slaughtered! How I longed to experience what a divine reversal felt like; to go from having everything go wrong to having everything go right. To feel God’s special affection for me wherever I went.
So I prayed that God would make that principle a reality in my life; that I could walk in the favor that Esther had. I opened up my devotional that morning and read, “The Lord will bless you and watch over you. The Lord will smile on you and be kind to you. The Lord will look on you with favor and give your peace!” Numbers 6:24-25. It was as though God was saying to me, “I heard you and my answer to your prayer is yes!”
Lance Wallnau defines favor as “the special affection of God toward you that releases an influence on you so others are inclined to like you or to cooperate with you” and “the charisma of Christ that makes you appealing.” What does he say we should do to obtain this favor? Love God, seek His face, become like him, and ask him for His favor. Decree His favor over every area of our lives and believe that He hears us. We also need to be able to look at ourselves in the mirror and love ourselves. After all, how can we accept God’s amazing affection if we don’t agree with it? Basically, that would be telling God that he was wrong about us, and we really don’t want His favor after all.
Last Sunday at church, God gave me a perfect illustration of what his favor looks like. My littlest son is now 16 months old. He was supposed to have moved out of the nursery awhile ago, but it is just easier to place him in the care of familiar faces in familiar surroundings. Well, last Sunday, I decided to try him in the older room. I entered to find only one teacher present; a sweet, young girl with a pregnant belly. She already had four children in the room, one of whom was crying quite loudly in a rocking chair. I was hesitant to put my little Courage in that room and add a fifth child. I wouldn’t want to take care of 5 non-verbal toddlers by myself if I were pregnant. I stayed with him in the room for a while, wondering what I should do. I finally decided to leave and enter the adult service. Just as I was walking out the door, the woman from the younger nursery came in.
“There’s Courage! We were wondering where he was! He is our favorite, you know. I think I need to steal him back!”
“OH! How many babies do you have in your room?” I asked.
“None have come yet, and there are two of us in there, just waiting to make Courage happy.”
“Oh yes, please do! I didn’t realize that your class was empty!”
So the sweet woman whisked Courage away. He was specifically chosen and sought out to receive the exclusive attentions of two adoring teachers simply because he was their FAVORITE! THAT is what FAVOR looks like!
I have been praying for God’s favor on my life. Favor for the traffic on the highway to be sparse and fast moving whenever I need to travel. Favor for my line in the grocery store to be the fastest. Favor for our business, that it would catch the positive attention of every person and business in our town that needs a sign. Favor for my children that they would get the best care from every teacher, babysitter, nurse, and doctor we ever meet. Favor in the eyes of every person I come in contact with. This may seem rather selfish. After all, why should I get special treatment? Because I am His favorite, that’s why! God loves every person, no matter how twisted, grumpy, evil, or unlovable they are. He wills the best and the highest for each one of them, but that doesn’t mean He likes them. Favor is when God really, really likes you! The reason God really, really likes you is because you are like His beloved son here in the earth; loving God and loving people, doing everything with the highest best of God in mind. So when people cooperate with me because I have the favor of God, they are actually cooperating with God. And when they are cooperating with God, they are actually cooperating with a force that intends to bring about the very best for them. So they are doing themselves a favor when they extend favor to me!
My faith in His favor is increasing as I see Him work out surprising and incredible circumstances on my behalf…after all, I am my Daddy’s favorite.