The Presence of Favour
[Part 1, Chapter 5]
Favour is all about presence.
‘Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.’”
Many things in life are easier when someone is “with you”.
In marathon training, I discovered the boredom and pain of a long run are alleviated when running with someone.
Julie and I find housework much more agreeable—certainly not enjoyable, but distinctly more palatable—when completing it together.
Far more seriously, I’ve yet to meet anyone who wants to die alone. Given the choice, we would all have someone “with us” as we pass from this world.
Part of the Angel’s greeting and a huge source of Mary’s favour is found in those words: “The Lord is with you.”
Mary, you’re not on your own. You may be young and inexperienced. Others may not understand the nature of what you’re about to be asked. You may feel inadequate and at times dejected. But you are not alone. I am with you. Even when you don’t notice me and are unaware of me; when you can’t feel me, hear me, see me, smell me or taste my goodness, I am with you.
Where are you needing this comfort and promise right now?
It’s not only for reassurance, but also equipping and empowerment.
When Jesus calls his disciples, he often used the same phrase expressed here to Mary, “with you” or “with me” (Mark 3:13-15, Matthew 17:1). This isn’t only a phrase of accompaniment. It is discipleship shorthand. It is an invitation to come on a journey of learning and discovery.
It’s as if Jesus is saying: “Because you have my favour, I’m inviting you with me, to watch me, hang about with me, see how I do things and how I respond, observe the favour I shower upon people. See my lack of judgementalism and the nature of my inclusivity. Copy the way I accept people and release them to grow as a result of the acceptance they’ve received.”
That’s Jesus invitation to us. To you. To me.
How about you? How do you respond to such a lavish offer?
For me, my response goes something like this: “Father, I thank you for the favour I have in Jesus through the Holy Spirit. I welcome your presence today in every situation and every thought. I look forward to the adventure of being ‘with you’ today.”
John Eldredge, from Ransomed Heart, expresses it this way:
“Jesus, Father, Holy Spirit—I give myself to you to be one with you in everything. I pray for union and I pray for oneness. I pray to be one heart and one mind, one will, one life. Restore me in you; restore our union. I give everything and everyone to you in order to have union with you. Heal our union, God; restore and renew our union. I pray your glory fills our union. I pray for a deeper union with you, a deeper and more complete oneness.”
Taking up the wonder of recognising God’s presence first thing in the morning can establish favour as your starting point for the rest of the day.
No matter what comes, you will notice that he is ‘with you’.