Why am I so favoured?

This is the question Elizabeth asked Mary, a young, single, mother-to-be. And this is the question I too should have been asking in all my troubles over the years. Instead, I recited the wrong ones…

  • Why won’t you hurry up, God, and answer my prayers?
  • How can I survive in this intolerable situation?
  • Don’t you care, God?

But God has been helping me redirect my focus – to look for what is good. And that is hard for me to do, for everything in my heart cries out against these injustices, it cries out against the cruel behaviour of others.

So, today, I celebrated my father’s death, for 33 years ago today, he suddenly died. Derek and I shared an ice cream sundae, and rejoiced in the bravery my father had to admit that he had done wrong. We thanked God for the occasions where he stood up against wrong. We agreed that because of his severity, I grew much deeper in faith.

So, I celebrate with Elizabeth for God’s favour in hard times.

‘Call me, Bitter.’

That was what Naomi said when she lost her husband and two sons. She said, ‘Don’t call me Naomi. Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter’ (Ruth 1:20). And in her deep grief, she tried to drive away those she loved.

God’s exiled people experienced the same in nature. They came to a spring, but ‘they could not drink its water because it was bitter’ (Exodus 15:23). They backed away from it and rejected it, because bitterness has a way of driving others away.

But God stepped into both situations. God gave Naomi a grandson through the very person she tried to reject. He cured the water for his exiled people, the very water they refused to drink. And God will do the same for us. Let’s not drive others away in our great sadness and bitterness of heart, for it is often through these people that we find God’s hope.

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