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Theology in the Trenches

By Kathleen Kjolhaug 

Highly Favored?

“Rejoice, oh highly favored one! The Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28).

You would have thought that she would have done just that...rejoiced that is. After all, the angel was sent by God to tell her the good news.

She was favored. Highly favored it says. The Lord was with her. What else would a person want? In a day and age when girls weren’t often favored, the Lord looked upon her and not only favored her, but told her that she was highly favored. How much better could it get? An angel, good news...all sent by God.

Except, she did not have the luxury of reading all about it prior to the calling...like we can read all about it. We know the ending before it even begins, but she does not. Nope, she was the first to hear the details of what was about to go down. 

How did she receive the news?

It is recorded. “She was deeply disturbed by these words” (Luke 1:29). She wasn’t perplexed. She wasn’t wondering if she was hearing things correctly. Nope. She was disturbed about it. Deeply disturbed she was with the news that the angel brought her.

This highly favored one, who was betrothed to Joseph, perhaps would have been a bit more excited had the angel announced that the wedding cloth she had been looking at was now on sale. Or, that Joseph was secretly planning to buy not only a wedding band but a fixer upper in which they could begin to dream about the next move they were planning to make.

“My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord” (Isaiah 55:8).

This piece of wisdom was given to us long before the birth of our Savior, long before Mary was found “highly favored.” Throughout the ages, His ways have not been our ways and He didn’t only say it, but declared it. There you go, another “d” word...all of this declaring in the midst of disturbing things going on.

Mary then asked herself what this greeting could mean. Well, the angel must have been able to read her mind because in verse 30 he responded. “Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favor.”

As the conversation continued, she listened with all her heart, mind, and soul. Then, and only then did she respond. “I am the handmaid of the Lord, let be unto me according to Thy word” (Luke 1:38). 

Hopefully, this is what we all desire in the situations we find ourselves in. There you go, another “d” word, desire. I suppose that if we don’t desire His will, we will eventually be greatly disturbed.

It’s not an easy road. I’m picking that much up from what’s being laid down in these verses. The word substitutions for disturbed could be summed up other words like crazed, bonked, troubled, and down right down-and-out about what is before us. To top it off, we know well that when we follow His direction...often times...people closest to us just do not get it...and they disturb us, or at least try to.

What did Mary do shortly after hearing the news and responding to it? She ran. Mary ran far. She ran to her cousin Elizabeth in order to find someone who was also tuned into the heart of God. Somehow, Mary knew that Elizabeth would get it. Mary knew where to turn, and if I read between the lines, she knew who to ignore. Mary went on to not just live the Gospel, but to produce Him in living form...only to continue on with more disturbing times of not only trials but tribulation as God gave His son up to die for the sins of the world...past, present, and future.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that who-so-ever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

Lord, God, we pray. We pray big and we pray bold, “Be it done unto me, according to Thy word.”  Amen.