I don’t know about you but I often seem to find myself going back to the same old familiar Bible passages in December.
And God speaks to me through them.
One of the things that has gone deep, again and again, is what the angel said to Mary.
‘Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.’ Luke 1:30
Again and again, God has used those words to encourage me.
‘And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”‘ Luke 1:28
And, yes, it’s a bit of context. My story is different to hers. Mary had a very particular blessing on her life. She was extraordinarily blessed. Mary got to bring the Messiah into the world! She was blessed among women in an incredible, astounding way.
But I am a child of God, because I belong to Jesus. And I, too, in Christ, am blessed. God’s favour is on my life, too.
And sometimes I think God wants to remind me of that.
I often let fear torment me, but it has no place. God is with me. His hand is on my life.
I am blessed.
I’ve been reading the book of Genesis recently. What did God say to Isaac?
‘And the Lord appeared to him the same night and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham; do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you and multiply your descendants for My servant Abraham’s sake.”’ Genesis 26:24
It was as though God stopped me in the middle of that verse.
Don’t be afraid. I am with you. I will bless you.
So simple, yet so helpful.
No, I am not Isaac either. God had a very particular plan for Isaac’s life, and a very special blessing on his future. Isaac was Abraham’s child of promise.
But God is with me, too. I have been forgiven. I am in Christ. And, because I am, I too am blessed… and I don’t need to be afraid of what will happen to me… or what others will think.
God has a plan for my life, too. His hand is on me… in blessing.
I who live afraid of the future. I who live hesitant and held back, nervous about what could happen. I who often live anxious and afraid.
He says to me, Don’t be afraid. I am with you. You are blessed.
I remember when I was at a conference a few years ago. We were listening to a speaker. We were singing. We stopped to pray; to seek a touch from the Lord.
Suddenly, it was as though God was showing me something. Because I have been saved through Jesus, I am His child. Because I am His child, I am blessed. There is an open Heaven above me. God answers my prayers. All of Heaven is on my side. I am blessed.
A lady had asked me to pray for her. I didn’t feel qualified. I felt small and unsure. But He was showing me something: I am His child. Because I am His child, because He is my Father, He hears my prayers, no matter how small and halting I feel. Of course I can pray for others! I am His! So I prayed- and it really seemed that God was answering. And He encouraged my heart. I am His child. He hears me because I belong to Him.
Blessed. It doesn’t always guarantee an easy ride. It doesn’t mean no tears this side of Heaven. It doesn’t mean I will always get what I want… Yet. There are plenty of misunderstandings out there about what it means to be blessed in the here and now. It doesn’t mean every superficial material or physical blessing I could want. It’s also not an excuse to mess around with sin (though, in the light of that, why would I want to?).
It is far sweeter; far greater than that. It is ultimately eternal… and it is also eternity bursting into the now.
It means I am loved. I am protected. I am secure. Everything that happens to me will turn out for my good.
‘And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.’ Romans 8:28
Tears will only multiply the blessings. Every trial will have a silver lining. He will be with me through it all.
Most of all, I have Him.
‘And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.’ John 17:3
I have no reason to live in fear… No reason to hold back.
What did God say to His people Israel?
’22 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 23 “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, ‘This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them:
24 “The Lord bless you and keep you;
25 The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
26 The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.”’
27 “So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them.”’
He tells me:
Don’t be afraid. I am with you. You are blessed.
And that is a reason to rejoice! 🙂
(And that reality can be yours, too. It is, if you belong to Jesus, trusting not in your good works but in Him alone as your Saviour, following Him as your Lord. And, if that’s not you yet, it’s not too late! Turn from your sin, surrender to Him as Lord of your life and receive His full and free forgiveness… and find love you’d never dreamed existed. And you, too, can live secure… and blessed).
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.