Grace and peace be unto you.
A Word of Encouragement…
We live each day surrounded by God’s abundant love, grace, and mercy, “The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made” (Psalm 145:9). “Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, in truth and love” (2 John 1:3).
The story is told that Joseph was sold to merchants who were going to Egypt. They then sold him to Potiphar, captain of Pharaoh’s guard. After a while, Potiphar gave him the job of attendant, hence he was in charge of his household. It so happened that he was wrongfully incarcerated. God’s favor remained with Joseph and the warden gave him the position of supervisor. Two years later, he was promoted to the second highest position in Egypt (Genesis 37-41). God’s favor never left Joseph, “Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield” (Psalm 5:12).
God’s favor is evident in his goodness and mercy towards us, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23:6). His favor is not just for a moment; it is for our lifetime. Nonetheless, there will be times when God is displeased with our conduct because of disobedience, and his favor will be absent, but that is just for a moment, “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord your Redeemer” (Isaiah 54:7-8).
Sometimes we focus on our challenges, engage in negative thinking, and ignore the many good things that God has done for us. For example, Jacob was wealthy and blessed by God, “Thus the man increased greatly and had large flocks, female servants and male servants, and camels and donkeys” (Genesis 30:43). Even so, in his final days he lamented that his life was short and challenging, “And Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The years of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty. My years have been few and difficult, and they do not equal the years of the pilgrimage of my fathers” (Genesis 47:9). Jacob compared the length of his life to his ancestors and concluded that his years were few. Furthermore, he focused on his challenging moments and surmised that his life was difficult. When we focus on our challenges and compare our life to others, we cannot see God’s favor.
3 ways to identify God’s favor
There are at least three ways to identify God’s favor. Firstly, cultivate godly thoughts, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8). Secondly, intentionally look for the good things that God is doing in your life, and take nothing for granted. His goodness is evident in favorable and unfavorable circumstances. For example, challenges build character, increases wisdom, knowledge, understanding and hope, “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope” (Romans 5:3-4).
Thirdly, develop the habit of praising God, “I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Psalm 34:1). We praise God because he is worthy of our worship, he is our Creator, Lord of lords, and King of kings. We also praise him for his blessings. When we praise him for his attributes and specific blessings, we learn to recognize his favor.