The events in my life between Dec. 30, 2019 and January 2, 2020 are forever etched in my mind. There was bleeding, trauma, ambulance, hospital, surgery and extreme fatigue, but looking back over that time period, what overwhelms me is THE FAVOR OF GOD!
Just prior to Dec. 30th I went shopping with a dear friend to find some fabric to cover my dining room chairs. They were having a big 50% off sale. I spotted the fabric that I knew I would love and took it to the check-out counter, only to learn that THIS fabric was not included in the sale. I gave the clerk a sad smile and said, "Well, okay. That's too bad." And immediately she replied, "No, that's OK. We'll give you the discount anyway!" I was amazed. That doesn't happen a lot. But it started happening to me all over the place that week, and I could not escape the feeling that the Lord was just POURING His favor out on me. "Why?" I wondered. That still, small voice whispered, "No reason, except that I love you!"
On the afternoon of Dec. 30th, feeling very fatigued, I went to our local Recreation Center to use what I thought was our last pass, so I could sit in the hot pool and relax my muscles before going for a massage. I put the pass card next to the scanner and it made an angry buzz. The desk clerk ran over, checked her computer and said, "I'm sorry. Your pass is expired. You don't have any more." The sad smile emerged again on my weary face. "Well okay. That's too bad." Immediately the clerk brightened. "It's all right, you can go back this time without paying." I spoke a blessing over her and gratefully went to the hot pool.
From there I proceeded to the massage clinic. I hadn't had one for many months and I had spasms in my back. The therapist was very caring. We talked about dementia and what I have been doing to care for my husband. Toward the end of my hour, she suddenly disappeared and then reappeared with about a dozen bottles of essential oils on a tray. I know they call this treatment "Raindrop Therapy" and I know it is incredibly effective in relaxing and rejuvenating the body, but also incredibly expensive! As she proceeded to massage the oils into my tightly locked muscles, I thanked her for blessing me but hoped I could afford the price. When she finished, I dressed and went to check out at the front, and she gave me the total. "$55.00." I was astonished. "But Shirley," I protested, "your massage charge is $60 and the Raindrop Therapy.... My voice trailed off as she touched my shoulder and said, "No charge for that. Just wanted to bless you."
Little could I know that all this outpouring of God's favor on me was to prepare and steady me for what I was about to go through. Just five hours later, my husband and I climbed into bed for a good night's sleep and he awoke about 30 minutes after that, shivering with cold, and then throwing off the covers, saying he was burning up! He stepped out of bed and lost all consciousness, hitting the hardwood floor on his face. I ran over to him and turned his clammy body over, only to see a face covered in blood!
Paramedics arrived so very quickly and by then John was writhing in intense pain on our bedroom floor, with cuts on his face. They transported him immediately to the hospital E.R. and once admitted to the hospital on Dec. 31, we found he had not one but FOUR top physicians and surgeons conferring on his case! They determined that he needed to have his gallbladder removed, but this amazing team of doctors took more time to make good decisions to keep John safe, given his cardiac history, and the brain injury from the fall. We were told that his blood was already somewhat septic and it would not have taken much longer to kill him if the gallbladder did not come out.
On January 1 - New Year's Day - a major holiday, the doctors met again and then took John into surgery. One of the doctors even came back in from his holiday vacation. How often does that happen? While he was being operated on, his life being gloriously saved once again, I became utterly overwhelmed at GOD'S FAVOR over us. The hot soak and the massage had all happened just hours before John was taken away in an ambulance. Coincidence? Or a Mighty, loving God who prepared me for all this with soothing, healing treatments? My spirit soared to think how OUR GOD GOES BEFORE US.
For the 6th time in almost 9 years of marriage, the Lord delivered my husband from death's door back to me and we drove home together on January 2. Since then I have spent time studying the Scriptures on the word "favor." Below is what I found. I wanted to share it with you - in the hopes that after reading my story and these words from other people touched by God's favor, you would share with me in the overwhelming goodness and lovingkindness of our Father who grants favor not because of who we are - but because of WHO HE IS!
Genesis 4:4: The LORD looked with FAVOR on Abel and his offering.
Genesis 6:8: Noah found FAVOR in the eyes of the LORD.
Gen. 19:19: Your servant has found FAVOR in your eyes and You have shown great kindness to me
in sparing my life.
Gen. 39:21: The LORD was with Joseph. He showed him kindness and granted him FAVOR in the
eyes of the prison warden.
Ex. 3:21: And I will make the Egyptians FAVORABLY disposed toward this people so that when you
leave you will not go empty-handed.
Ex. 33:13: If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue
to find favor with you.
All these Scriptures resonate with me. But the last one will be my constant prayer!
Each year in Christmas week I come to our weekly Bible Study at the Greeley Place Retirement Home with a little bag of blessings for each of our 12 students (mostly in their 80s and 90s) and a chance to sing some worship songs and read the story in Luke chapter 2. So this year I was thumbing through the church hymnal I grew up with and the Holy Spirit greatly surprised and awakened me with fresh revelation regarding some of the old carols most of us sang from our youth. Words that had never jumped off the hymnal page before suddenly exploded in powerful Messianic visions!
I don't know if it's possible that the authors and composers of these old hymns had an understanding of the "double layer of prophecy" in the first coming and second coming of Christ; but if they didn't, then some of these carols simply carry a powerful anointing that travels through the ages, from a celebration of Jesus' first coming as a child, to a glorious foreshadow of His coming a second time as a Messianic King, a Ruler of the world!
Matthew 25:6 prophesies of the Return of Jesus: “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
And we sing this carol, written in 1810:
It came upon a midnight clear, that glorious song of old
From angels bending near the earth to touch their harps of gold
Peace on the earth, good will to men, from heaven's all gracious King
The world in solemn stillness lay to hear the angels sing
Yet with the woes of sin and strife the world has suffered long
Beneath the heavenly hymn have rolled two thousand years of wrong
and warring mankind hears not the tidings which they bring
O hush the noise and cease your strife and hear the angels sing!
For lo the days are hastening on, by prophets seen of old
when with the ever-circling years shall come the time foretold
when peace shall over all the earth its ancient splendors fling
and all the world give back the song which now the angels sing
This carol speaks of a midnight when angels are summoned to the earth. It looks BACK over two thousand years of sin and war and calls to a people - even of our present generation! - to hush the noise and cease the strife and listen for the angels' song. It acknowledges that a time well in the future will see the ancient prophecies fulfilled when peace finally covers the earth - and we know this will ONLY happen when the Sar Shalom, the Prince of Peace, returns!
I was so overcome by the Messianic words of this hymn that I began searching excitedly through other carols to see if there were similar prophecies. Here are more stanzas I found that could only be referring to a future KING who will come a second time!
Joy to the world, the Lord is come; let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare Him room and heaven and nature sing!
No more let sins and sorrows grow, nor thorns infest the ground
He comes to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found
He rules the world with truth and grace and makes the nations prove
the glories of His righteousness and wonders of His love!
WHEN does Yeshua/Jesus come to rule the world as King? When does He deal with the curse of Satan and sin? When does He confront the nations with the Glory of His righteousness, the wonders of His love? Of course, He does this work at the Cross -- but He comes to rule the world at His establishment of His Millennial Kingdom! This carol too is Messianic prophecy! I became breathless at this revelation of these powerful songs that we had all but thrown out, replacing them with Here Comes Santa Claus and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
Set aside the tunes of these powerful old carols and just read the words. I pray you will be as blessed as I am, as we begin to spend more time looking UP at the clouds, expecting to hear the blast of the Trumpet and yearning to see the Cloud Rider who is yet COMING on a midnight clear! O let us hush the noise and cease the strife and hear the angels sing.
Kelly Ferrari Mills