Recently as I completed a women’s Bible study session the question arose: “How do we find God’s favor?”
A dictionary definition of favor is: gracious kindness; aid or assistance; effort in one’s behalf or interest. Certainly, as children of God, we want all of that from Him.
We know Noah found favor with God, as did Moses, Samuel, David, and Solomon. Hebrews 11 gives a more complete list of those who saw God’s favor. Above all, Jesus found favor with His Father and with humans.1
Biblical women found God’s favor as well. God kept His word to Sarah, for example, and He showed favor to Abigail, due to her kindness and wisdom. Deborah was courageous and truthful as a prophet and warrior, and God brought victory. And Rahab and Ruth found favor by their obedience. Esther found favor with God and King Xerxes, thus saving her people. In the New Testament, Elizabeth exclaimed, “How kind the Lord is!” when she became pregnant in her old age.2
Then, of course, Mary, mother of Jesus, was highly favored.3
And that brings us to Mother’s Day.
As we anticipate Mother’s Day on Sunday, let’s consider the current state of motherhood in our nation. It is no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic hit women hard — in all socioeconomic and demographic categories, whether working in or out of the home, married or single — as they tried to maintain a healthy balance with shifting responsibilities. Men and fathers struggled as well. And it’s not over yet.
We continue to hear about women who gave up six-figure salaries to stay home, or about those who work early mornings into late nights to keep their bosses happy, their kids connected to online classes, and their homes running smoothly.
The U.S. Census reports that in March and April 2020, some 3.5 million mothers living with school-age children left active work — either shifting into paid or unpaid leave, losing their jobs, or exiting the labor market all together. Some have returned to work; many have not.
So how can moms hang in there, especially in times proven more difficult for them than possibly any other group? Maybe you as a mom haven’t had any contact with other adults recently; maybe you are feeling out of touch or broken. Perhaps you haven’t felt like you have God’s presence or anointing.
If you are a mom today who is frazzled, frustrated, and wants to be finished with this pandemic, finished with stay-at-home orders and online school — and maybe you have even considered being finished with your family — please understand that God hasn’t forgotten you or given up on you.
And, if you are one of those moms, what can you do? Keep seeking God’s favor.
Consider these helps for finding and continuing in God’s favor:
1. Honor Him — like Sarah, Abigail, and Deborah did. Of course, you are stressed. Of course, you are exhausted. God sees and understands. And when you take time somewhere in your day to honor God by reading His Word, you will find more than favor. Wisdom, direction, saving grace, mercy, rest, peace, and joy are waiting as you seek God’s face through His Word.
2. Follow His heart — like Ruth and Esther did. These Bible women and others faced great struggle, not unlike yours during this past year. And they each found a way to follow the heart of God by committing to do the right thing, even under pressure.
3. Be faithful — like Mary was, in spite of ridicule and rejection from those who couldn’t comprehend her situation. God is our source and supply, even if we don’t understand what we are going through right now.
4. Request wisdom — the good news is that we can ask for it (James 1:5). We don’t have to figure anything out without His help.
And, please, moms, know that more is at stake than just your own sanity.
A joint study of Barna Research and Lutheran Hour Ministries found that “mothers — more often than fathers, or any other category of frequent participants in households — are seen as the confidants, providers of support, and drivers of faith formation.”
The study goes on to say that Gen Zers (those born between 1997 and 2012) “offer a portrait of mothers who are present, passionate, and faithful.”
Your presence matters, mom. Your passion and zeal can be transferred so your children and grandchildren are blessed (Psalm 103:17,18). Even if you are not a mom, remember that your presence in the lives of others also matters; you may be just the encouragement another struggling woman or child needs.
Keep stoking that fire in your soul, even when it seems the embers are about to burn out. Keep feeding your faith as you honor God — not just for your own heart and soul, but for the hearts and souls of children, young and full-grown alike — those who are watching and depending on you to display your faith and be faithful.
And don’t forget this classic verse and priestly blessing that applies to your life today:
“May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace” (Numbers 6:26, New Living Translation, emphasis added).
May your Mother’s Day be joyous — highly favored woman of God — as you rest in His peace!
1 Genesis 6:8; Exodus 33:12, NLT; 1 Samuel 2:26; 2 Samuel 7:15, NLT; 1 Chronicles 17:13, NLT; Luke 2:52, NLT.
2 Genesis 21:1; 1 Samuel 25:32, 33; Judges 4; Matthew 1:5; Ruth 4:13-22; Esther 5:8; 7:3, NLT; Luke 1:25, NLT
3 Luke 1:28, 30, KJV