Ease and comfort are not typically the fruit of God’s favor.  

Excerpt from Sally McClung:

In Luke 1:28 in the Christmas story the angel appeared to Mary and said “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

Mary, the woman who was chosen above all others to be the mother of Jesus – is told that God is with her. I don’t know what she expected. If I were her, I think I would have expected good things. After all, she’s the chosen one!

And yet things weren’t easy for her:

– She had a pregnancy that no one understood. I imagine she was whispered about, pointed at, probably ridiculed. She may have been shunned and excluded because of the “questionable” pregnancy.

– She had to give birth (after riding for days on a donkey – no ambulance to take her to a nice hospital!) in the humblest of settings.
I would have at least expected that God would provide a nice place for His Son to be born.

– She had to run and flee to another country because the king wanted to kill her son. In fact, she had to keep moving around because they were trying to find her, Joseph, and baby Jesus. She didn’t have a nice, sweet home to raise her little son.

– She had to watch as her son was both loved and hated. I hate to think of all the things she heard people saying about Him. The words must have pierced her heart.

– She had to endure seeing her son mocked, beaten, and cruelly killed. I can’t begin to imagine the pain of that.

And remember all this happened to a woman who was “highly favored” and God said He was with her. Her life wasn’t easy even though she was the chosen one. But the key – the most important thing – is that God WAS with her. That made all the difference!

Your life and my life will probably have things that aren’t easy! But we have the same promise that Mary had. God is with us! He is Immanuel. He’ll help us with whatever we have to face.

We don’t have to stand in line to be with Him. We don’t have to go somewhere to meet Him. We don’t have to take turns being with Him. We don’t have to wait to be with Him. We don’t have to hope He’ll have time for us – or that He’ll speak to us. HE IS WITH US!  Every day, 24/7, 365 days a year, every hour, every minute, every second He is with us. He never leaves us. He is Immanuel.

Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which means God with us.” Matthew 1:23

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call Him Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14

I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go.” Genesis 28:15

My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Be strong and courageous!…..For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” Isaiah 46:4