Highly Favored… and Greatly Troubled
by Catie Naranjo
“Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you,” – Luke 1:28
This was the message Gabriel brought to Mary, the young woman God chose to carry His son.
We all desire that to be spoken over us. We long to walk in the sweet favor of the Lord, and we are quick to assume that we’re not highly favored simply because of outside circumstances.
Maybe we think, “Surely, God would never send an angel to speak favor over my life. Our finances are scarce. The church is facing real obstacles. Our children are acting out…” And the list can go on – Oh, can it go on!
But note Luke 1:29 – immediately after Gabriel calls Mary “highly favored” and promises that the Lord is with her, it says that, “Mary was greatly troubled” and afraid.
Is it possible to be highly favored and greatly troubled at the same time? Mary certainly was, and, as church planters, we often are as well.
Sure, there are times we can walk outside of God’s favor. However, when we are living life out of obedience and love toward God, He can’t help but smile down upon his children. We don’t have to be perfect – thank God! - but Psalm 66:2 reminds us that God looks on those who are humble and contrite in heart. Just like we should never confuse success with God’s approval, we shouldn’t assume our trouble is the absence of God’s favor.
Perhaps you’re like me and still processing this concept. That’s okay! Thankfully, Luke 1 goes on:
“How will this be since I am a virgin?” Mary asks.
We all have reasons we can point to as to why it should be impossible to fulfill God’s call in our lives and churches. But the answer the angel gives is the absolute best!
“The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.”
Highly favored woman of God, you will get through this troubling and fearful time! And the way you will do it is through being in the presence of the Holy Spirit. Get close and cling to Him. Get so close that you are overshadowed by Him. That is where the miracles happen!
Because, as Gabriel reminds Mary before he exits the building, “No word from God will ever fail.”
May that promise be a gift to you this Christmas. His Word is powerful and more than enough to support His call on your life.
As you are fighting and contending for your community and at the same time ministering to your family and husband, know that you are highly favored and that God is with you. Rest assured that sometimes being greatly troubled is a perfectly normal part of that calling. Stay in His shadow and His Word will NEVER fail to sustain you.
Merry Christmas, highly favored women of God!
Catie Naranjo and her husband, Jeremy, planted Summit Church in Anthem, AZ in 2015. They have two amazing kids, a grumpy cat, and are honored to be called by God to build His church.