In writing for www.gotquestions.org, I was asked to deal with whether God grants Christians special favor.
God certainly does grant favor to his children. Psalms 90:17 (NIV) says, “May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us – yes, establish the work of our hands.” Additionally, the Apostle Paul in his second letter to the Corinthians said, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you. I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” (II Cor 6:2 NIV) I would encourage a search of the word favor in the New International Version. The word appears dozens and dozens of time throughout Scripture. Many of those uses refer specifically to the favor of the Lord upon his people.
Psalms 112 (NIV) is an interesting case study in the favor that the Lord grants upon his people “who fear the Lord and find great delight in his commands.” While the word favor doesn’t appear in this particular chapter, the concept can certainly be seen as expressed in the chapter as ‘blessings’. Verse 2 promises that this man’s children will be mighty in the land; verse 3 speaks to the prosperity of the committed person; verse 4 speaks of light dawning for the upright in the midst of darkness, etc. Each verse in that chapter is packed full of promises to the man who fears the Lord and delights in his commands.
This is not to say that the Christian will not go through some trials and difficulties in life. If you study the life of Job in the Old Testament you will see that he had God’s favor in the midst of loss and grief. God has never promised us easy times. But, he has promised to go with us through a desert place such as the Valley of Baca (Psalms 84 NIV), He will be there even in the valley of the shadow of death (Psalms 23 NIV) and even in times of shipwreck, danger from robbers and danger from false brethren (II Cor 11:25-27 NIV). We will experience some ‘bad times’. But, those aren’t times where God has left us alone. Instead, those are opportunities to demonstrate our faith. When times are wonderful, it is easy to praise the Lord. However, during times of difficulty we often don’t feel like praising him. That’s where the ‘sacrifice of praise’ in Hebrews 13:15 (NIV) can be so critical in our lives. Praise him in the good times, praise him in the dark times.
It is important to consider that God showing favor to His people is not the same as ‘favoritism’. Acts 10:34 (NIV) tells us that God does not show favoritism. In the classic King James Version is says that God is not a ‘respecter of persons’. Recently, I called a government agency that I had been having difficulties with. Before the phone call, I prayed for God’s favor as I dealt with the government representative. I wasn’t asking God for the representative to show me favoritism as if I was his favorite client. However, in asking for favor I was asking for a fair consideration of my situation and a granting of my request.
Based on the earlier reference to Psalms 112, a Christian needs to be introspective and examine their life to determine whether they are fulfilling verse 1 of Psalms 112 in order to rely upon the promises of the rest of the chapter. In other words, can I expect to experience the ‘wealth and riches’ in my house of verse 3 if I have ignored passages in Proverbs that instruct me to avoid debt? Can I expect to have enough money to be able to lend to other people (verse 5) if I am paying hundreds of dollars each month to credit card and mortgage interest?
Caring for your children, having a busy schedule and dealing with the challenges of life can certainly sap a person of their joy. Finding time to read your Bible and have a quiet time can be challenging especially if you have no place in your home to escape for a few minutes from the hectic issues of life. Please consider taking a moment each day to write a verse on a 3 x 5 card or a piece of paper? Throughout the day, ponder upon that verse. Chew on it, roll it over in your mind and think about how it applies to your daily life. Consider starting with Psalms 112. Consider that chapter for several days. Thank God for the promises and praise Him for how He will implement them into your life. Possibly you can put the card on your bathroom mirror so when you wash your hands you can read it again. As you learn to brood over God’s Word, you will discover encouragement and an increased sense of His presence and direction in your life.
Regarding your place in life, you are in a crucial place caring of your children. Possibly, there is no greater calling than for a parent to be involved in raising their children to be young champions for Christ. The great theologians Charles and John Wesley’s impact on the world can be traced back to their mother Susanna Wesley and her commitment to caring for her 19 children. Trust God to lead you in the direction that He wants you to go. But, for now cherish the years you have raising your children. The years go by so very quickly though it may not seem to be so at the moment. The lessons you teach them today, they will remember for the rest of their lives.
As you go through the day praying, remember that there is a ‘rest’ in Jesus Christ that the Bible talks of in Hebrews 4:1-3. Think of the best friend you have ever had. When you were together over a meal or a cup of coffee, isn’t it usually one of the most relaxing times? With a best friend, you don’t have to put on airs. You don’t have to pretend to be someone you are not. With God, we have the same benefits of a relationship with a best friend. Certainly, he is our God and creator and we should reverence Him. But, He is also a ‘friend that sticks closer than a brother’ as referenced in Proverbs 18:24 (NIV). As you pray, find confidence and rest in Him.