I have a friend who called me her favorite. I accepted that, knowing that due to life circumstances, we had a special connection. Later, I discovered she told others they were her favorite. My ego was deflated, although knowing we each had other friends. I decided to examine the word, “favorite.”
I thought of the song, “My Favorite Things.” The words say the dog bites and the bee stings. But when sad, the singer doesn’t feel so bad when thinking of favorite things. Not thing – singular, but things – plural. More than one favorite. We’re often asked questions such as: what’s your favorite color, book, author, season, food, kind of…etc. etc. Well… it depends… or maybe changes.
My mind began to focus on favorite Bible verses. I cannot name only one. My favorite has been the one most meaningful at a particular time in my life. John 3:16 is likely the most meaningful in all of scripture. That is the basis for abundant and eternal life. After that acceptance, other scripture becomes personally meaningful.
Looking back, I think of verses that I began to apply in my life specifically. When I was in a young married women’s class, the teacher asked if I would teach one Sunday when she needed to be away. Perhaps my faithfulness in attendance, response in class, asking questions, showing a desire to learn prompted her to ask me. Or… maybe everyone else had said, “No.” Anyway, I stood before the class with my notes on the right side of the lectern and the verse in large letters, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13 NKJV),” on the left side. Looking at the verse as often as looking at the notes got me through it. That was my first time to teach a class. But I knew if I didn’t try, I wouldn’t know if I could do it, or be effective. After that, I taught several times.
A few years later we moved to another city and church. I was asked to work with 2-3 year-olds. Ouch! The dog bit. That was not my preference. But I wanted to prove my willingness to serve. I thought of the scripture, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me” (Matthew 18:1-5). I was married but had no children at that time, no experience, but again I thought of the verse, “I can do all things…” In studying stories and lessons and presenting them to children, I was inadvertently learning to be a parent, discovering what appeals to and makes a difference in toddlers’ lives. I’m sure I learned more that year than the toddlers did.
After that year with children, I thought I could continue to be effective in that department, but my preference was teaching adults and I made that known. The nominating committee asked if I would teach young women, ages 17-married. Sure, I was apprehensive, but my confidence had grown. The group was young and fun, dating, falling in love and out, getting engaged, getting married, being active in church or work or college life. Then… my confidence grew to the point that I felt if I could teach toddlers, young teenage women, and a husband (ahem!), it was time to go further. After all, Jesus said, “Go…into all the world… and start in Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47). I felt convicted about teaching brotherly love every Sunday being confined to a Sunday school class. I presented my plan to invite some young Black girls to our class and that was enthusiastically accepted. I happened to mention it to a deacon. What followed was a deacon’s meeting. The pastor and all deacons but one said, “No.” Rejection! Ouch! The bee stung.
My faith in Christians and God’s leading plummeted. I considered giving up that class, quitting the church. Seeing that my class members weren’t as adversely affected as I was, I continued teaching. But I felt disappointed, defeated, and sad. I read the verse, “Worship the Lord with gladness, come before him…acknowledge that the Lord is God!” (Psalm 100:4). So… the Lord is not there to do my bidding. I am to do His! Thus, I walked down the aisle of the church to re-dedicate my life, having no idea what that meant, other than be content, and let Him lead. If his plan for me was to stay in “Jerusalem,” that was needed and a worthy calling.
However, soon after that, I noticed a small ad about the Billy Graham School of Christian Writing in Decision Magazine. Something new and different stirred inside me. I had not thought of being a writer, but I had re-written all the lessons I’d taught, had written about good times and bad times and special thoughts or insights, then tossed them into a box in a closet. So, I applied to attend the school. Long story short… that led to a whole new world of writing opening up to me. After more education, learning about the profession, practicing my creativity, my written words were reaching out to “the world” with a faith message. That certainly demands an important verse to become a favorite each time I write, “May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).
In taking advantage of opportunities and having a willingness to serve, God had been preparing me for the writing profession through many experiences. Eventually I did get to teach classes of adults, one a class olden than I, where I learned even more. I’ve spent a few decades writing novels, and although I’d dabbled in nonfiction, that wasn’t my interest. Again… I was led in that direction. After being asked to write “one” Divine Moments book, things happened, again without my pursuing it, and now there are 16 Moments books. These give opportunities for anyone with a story to share with others. And, since all royalties go to Samaritan’s Purse, I and the other authors are reaching the world, if not with the written word, with the money donated to that organization which meets the physical and spiritual needs of “the world.”
In thinking about favorite verses, I see that they became favorite because of how I can look back on them, see promises or encouragement and how to live by God’s Word. They’ve become favorites because of my personal need for God’s leadership or presence. Maybe that’s why I became a favorite of my friend because I was here for her not only for fun and companionship, but in times of need. She is a favorite of mine.
So, I took it further. Maybe… I am a favorite of God’s. John 3:16 tells me he wants that. Ephesians 1:5-7 (HCSB) says,“He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will, to the praise of His glorious grace that He favored us with in the Beloved. We have redemption in Him through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.”
Yes, (I) we are God’s favorite. So, when the dog bites and the bee stings, I can think of a few of my favorite things and my heart sings.