Can Scandal Be a Sign of God’s Favor? Remembering Mary

by | Nov 29, 2016 | Battles, Faith | 27 comments

“She lives a charmed life,” a friend said regarding her daughter-in-law. “Everything just works out for her.” If a charmed life is easy, then what do you imagine a highly-favored-of-God life to be? Certainly it would be better than a charmed life.


Mary, the mother of Jesus, was highly favored of God. Yet her life was difficult. Looking at her life should encourage us when life seems unfair and hard.

God chose Mary to be the mother of His only Son. Two times in the brief meeting with Gabriel the angel called Mary highly favored of God. “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28).

If an angel called you highly favored, wouldn’t you expect some free “get out of jail pain” passes? If God picked you to carry His child, wouldn’t you expect some special treatment? Surely He’d at least prepare your fiancé. 

I’m not sure what Mary imagined, but when she returned from a three-month visit with her cousin and told Joseph she was pregnant, he didn’t believe her story. Since their engagement could only be ended by divorce or death, he looked for a way to quietly divorce her.

Mary was not living a charmed life. Imagine the pain of being rejected by your fiancé and accused of being immoral and unfaithful, and having no way to prove your innocence. It must have hurt to see Joseph feeling betrayed too and not being able to reassure him.

Since God set the bar on sexual purity, why did He let others believe Mary was sexually loose? Why did He put this couple through this tension?

God did step in and stop Joseph from divorcing Mary. But the religious leaders continued to call Jesus illegitimate even in His adult years. God allowed people—religious leaders—to believe Joseph and Mary were sexually immoral, when they had shown extraordinary restraint. Joseph kept her a virgin until after Jesus’ birth.

I wonder how many Jewish customers and friends Joseph lost in his carpentry business because of this scandal. Wouldn’t you think God would clear the reputation of this highly favored couple?

God Knows Best

Isaiah 55:8 reminds us God’s ways are not our ways. They are better. God did clear Mary’s reputation for those with whom it mattered. He also used this misunderstanding to benefit Mary, Joseph—and us.

  • Mary and Joseph could empathize with those who doubted their story. They didn’t waste energy being offended that others didn’t believe them. After all, it took an angel’s visit for Joseph to understand.
  • Joseph modeled how to handle betrayal.
  • Mary and Joseph’s faith grew. With each new challenge they remembered God’s faithfulness through previous tests.
  • We benefit. When people believe lies about us, we remember some of God’s most highly favored saints were misunderstood.
Conflict may be a sign of God's favor! Click To Tweet

Having God’s favor didn’t bring Mary a life of ease. Instead of having a midwife and a clean bed, Mary delivered God’s Son in a stable. Instead of being escorted by the king’s army, soldiers hunted her boy to murder him. And when Jesus grew up, His scourging and crucifixion pierced her own heart. Definitely not a charmed life!

God’s ways are not our ways; they are infinitely better. Despite her trials, Mary learned that no problem is too big for God. She dwells in heaven today with the Father and the Son. If you asked her, she’d say the favor of God far exceeds a life of ease.

Question: How does Mary and Joseph’s experience help you?

Click here to comment.


Debbie W. Wilson

Adapted from Little Women, Big God: It’s not the size of your problems, but the size of your God.

Sometimes I link up with these great sites:

#Teaching What Is Good#w2wwordfilledwednesday, #Wedded Wednesday, #Women with Intention, #HeartEncouragement, #LivefreeThursday#Thankful Thursdays#Grace and Truth, #Dance with Jesus, #Word of God








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  1. Keita

    i love this post! Thank you!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Keita. I love Mary’s story.

  2. Mrs Thomas

    My, my, my conflict may be a sign on God’s favor. I love this post, what a great reminder instead of always being selfish and thinking why me, instead think why not me? If the mother of our Savior had a favored life in which she still had test and trials that should be another brick in our own faith that God is still there and its apart of his plan. Another reason why I love to tell of my own hardships and challenges to show that God reigns and what might seem evil/bad doing can work for your good.

    God bless you!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Amen! God is able to bring joy and peace in spite of hardship. Blessing to you, Mrs. Thomas!

  3. Ann

    I’ve often thought about Mary from the perspective of motherhood. In fact I gave a talk at a Christian parenting group years ago that I used for part of my ebook Entrepreneurs for Eternity that contrasted the differences and similarities we share with her as moms. I love how you focused on conflict not necessarily being a sign that we are out of His will. This was very powerful Debbie.

  4. Debbie Wilson

    Ann, isn’t it encouraging to see these people didn’t live in a bubble but God walked with them through real life challenges. I know your group enjoyed your talk.

    • Ann


  5. Jane

    I love you and your perspective! I needed this today. When my life feels so messy and Satan wants to condemn, yet God is so prevalent! He is speaking, He is moving, I see it, I hear it, I feel it, but yet life, my life, looks so scandalous. I rest that He knows best.
    Thanks Debbie:)

    • Debbie Wilson

      Jane, you’re in good company! Many of God’s heroes in the Bible led messy lives and were criticized by the world. Blessings.

  6. Michele Morin

    Debbie, there is such wisdom to your words, because I want to be the kind of woman who doesn’t mind being out of step with the popular opinions. Thanks for reminding me that I may get flack from those who do not understand, but, like Mary, I want to hear the voice of God.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Me too, Michele! And if Jesus and His followers received push-back why are we surprised when we do too?

  7. Kaylin at Imperfect Disciples

    This is a beautiful reminder that God has a plan for good, thought we may not be able to see it in the midst of it. Thank you for sharing this encouraging message.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Kaylin!

  8. Heather

    Thanks for this. I’m having a bit of a rough week, and I hadn’t thought of it this way.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Bless you, Heather. When life is hard it’s easy to forget God uses trials to mature us and show His glory.

  9. Beth

    You are so insightful, Debbie. I love what you’ve shared with us. It’s so true. I never really thought about the connection between Mary being highly favored and the trouble she faced. I suppose, like the Christ child she gave birth to, her calling wasn’t to a “charmed” life. She experienced suffering even as God’s favor sought her out and rested upon her. If we look at it from God’s perspective, that’s more than enough! Thanks for this, my friend!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Beth.

  10. KellyRBaker

    Those are some great questions. Why didn’t God clear their names? Recently I read about an unbeliever who was disputing the fact that she was a virgin. God’s ways are best, even when it looks opposite to us. Visiting from Heart Encouragement Thursdays.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Kelly. God’s ways are best even though they may not seem like it to us at the time.

  11. Linda Perkins

    Thank you for this encouragement, Debbie! I love the reminder that “some of God’s most highly favored saints were misunderstood.” When we are serving Him and trusting Him through whatever situation He has placed us in, sometimes we are misunderstood. Yet, it is comforting to realize that God knows our hearts. He is in control and just as it was in Mary, he has a good purpose and plan for our lives. We just need to be still and know that he is God.

    – your neighbor on Crystal’s #Heartencouragement Thursday

    • Debbie Wilson

      Linda, isn’t it wonderful to know we are in good company when that happens?

  12. Lauren Gaskill

    This is something that the Lord has been teaching me over the past several years. It’s true … as believers, we are not promised a conflict-free life. Jesus tells us we will face trouble. But He also tells us that, because of Him, not only will we be able to stand against pain, etc., we can actually overcome it! Thankful to be your neighbor at #LiveFreeThursdays. 🙂

    • Debbie Wilson

      Amen, Lauren. We are super-conquerors through Christ!

  13. Lori

    Debbie, you’ve asked some questions I haven’t even considered. I’m going to have to do a little digging around researching more on these. Thank you! Thanks for sharing with Thankful Thursdays.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Lori. I’d love to hear your thoughts after you ponder this more.

  14. Sherry

    This is a good thing to point out about the story of Christ. Yes, I think God’s chosen are often put to the fire by scandal. Great post!

    • Debbie

      Thank you, Sherry.

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