The audacity of certain companies can be sometimes unfathomable. You pour into your job, attempting to be the best employee they’ve ever hired, and they overlook you for the promotion. To top it off, the person they overlooked you for isn’t even as good, or as dedicated, of an employee as you. Yet, here you are, questioning who the idiot is? Is it you for believing in them, or is it them for not believing in you?
At the end of my stint with valet parking (because unless the Lord demands it, I am truly done with that occupation), I reflected on one particular moment. As the supervisor for one company, they brought in a new employee for me to train. He was not the fastest or smartest, nor was he reliable. He appeared to be a typical, temporary worker who was just passing through. Within six months, he departed for another location.
However, a half-year later, he returned promoted. He wasn’t just as another supervisor. He was now a manager, and not just any manager, but my manager. Someone I assessed to be substandard was somehow giving me the orders. It was baffling.
I had to step back and look at what was taking place. I communicated my desire for advancement. Yet, I was ignored for the better part of three years, and this younger man came in and got the manager position in less than a year. It didn’t make sense, but it is as the saying goes, “Favor ain’t fair.”
For many Christians, “Favor ain’t fair” usually means God benefited one person or group, usually involving the proclaimer, protecting them or elevating them in unfathomable ways. There is an element of competition or comparison embedded in the saying. It is usually a statement referring to the self, or at the very least, it refers to good news.
Got the job before other candidates? Favor ain’t fair. Found an extra $100 on the ground when the person walking in front of you missed it? Favor ain’t fair. The coworker who kept trying to get you fired actually got fired themselves? Favor ain’t fair. Had the house sold to you when someone else had the higher bid? Favor ain’t fair.
We rarely look at God’s favor not choosing us. We don’t get fired and say, “Favor ain’t fair.” We don’t get overlooked for the promotion and say, “Favor ain’t fair.” We don’t get in an accident and say, “Favor ain’t fair.” We don’t get a disease, or virus, and shout, “Favor ain’t fair!” Only the things we humans perceive as blessings ever get considered to be favor. Yet, every ill-perceived experience mentioned just now can actually be deemed favor in the right perspective and with enough time to reveal the truth.
I have heard several times that a near-death experience directed a person towards bettering their life rather than further damaging it. I have heard that requiring glasses caused a person to humble themselves, because they could see their mortality so to speak. I have heard people get fired, who turned unemployment into a business. I have heard of people who endured cancer going back to encourage the next person who ended up having it. I have heard of people using an overdose on drugs as a wakeup call to fight their drug addiction. None of these experiences are pleasant, yet they are all favor in some way.
This young man who was hired after me and got the manager position before me had a “favor ain’t fair” moment while I found myself to be on the “losing” side of that season. How many people can admit God’s favor passed over them in favor of someone else? Surely, the proverb doesn’t become null and void simply because it doesn’t apply to us. Surely, we have come to the understanding that the Spring rain falls on both the good and the not so good for the harvest while the sun rises and shines on the just and evil so neither remain in depression? If favor isn’t fair, then someone is always coming up shorthanded.
I missed that truth when I found myself under the authority of a person I had trained. Instead, I began to hate my job. I hated the judgement of people in corporate, and I despised everyone who went along with it like it wasn’t absurd. How often has anyone trained their manager without first being considered for that managerial position? I could not get outside myself to recognize God’s favor falls where He wills it, not where I wish it.
Thinking back on it now, and on how much I hate customer service and valet, favor truly wasn’t fair. I asked for that position not knowing how much angrier it would have made me to work it. I would’ve quickly come to loathe my promotion and found another job anyway. God spared me from my own wayward desire, and gave me something better altogether. Favor that passes over us is the same favor that provides what we asked for, and it still isn’t fair. God’s favor goes where He wants it to go and is provided to whom He wants to experience it.
We need to be better about our reactions to favor. When we receive favor, we should be humble and willing to bless the next person in line. When we don’t receive favor, we should remain joyful, and be happy for the person whom favor chose.
Missing out on favor isn’t the time to start complaining nor comparing. Far too often, people have said, “Where is my husband (or wife)?” when seeing others get married. Too many people are asking, “Why did they get the house, car, high-paying job and not me?” We become jealous of others and create our own misery, thus proving favor was justified in passing over us because we don’t have the mentality that is capable of accepting favor.
Favor is God’s will. You have no say in its size and you have no say in where it goes. Stop competing for it. If it belongs to you, it will come, and if it doesn’t, it’s for a good reason. Instead of keeping track of favor, track the level of your gratefulness. Because even if you get overlooked, you are still blessed.
I have been denied managerial positions before. Still I am blessed. I didn’t win the lottery. Still, I am blessed. I didn’t get married when I wanted to and I didn’t have kids when I wanted to. Guess what? I’m still blessed. I didn’t get published as early as I hoped. You guessed it. I’m still blessed. Favor isn’t required to show up the way we want it to nor look the way we want it to look. It just has to do the will of God.
Instead of complaining, start saying, “Lord, show me how Your favor came to me.” You may find yourself noticing things you’ve forgotten to be thankful for. Start saying, “God, I thank You even though you didn’t choose me for that blessing.” Oftentimes, when God withholds something, it is because He has something better for you and more tailored to you and your life. Don’t dismiss your joy because you didn’t get what you wanted in the way or timing that you wanted it. Favor is coming at a different time and a different way than you expected. It’s okay to be wrong. You’re not entitled to the desires you have.
I may not be a husband, but I have fallen for a woman before. I may not be a father, but I’m a parental figure to many children. I may not be published, but I am a polished writer. I may not be the CEO, but people know they can rely on me in whatever role I take. I may not make the most money, but all my needs and a good chunk of my wants are taken care of. I may not be living the life that I wanted, but I am always living the life I needed and the life most beneficial to me. I know favor ain’t fair, and I also know that favor is just.
Favor is blessing a man with money to expose his tendency towards evil. Favor is blessing a woman with beauty to expose her laziness and greed. Favor is blessing a person with leadership to prove to them they are not good leaders. Favor isn’t just about material things. Favor is also about spiritual, emotional, and knowledgeable things.
Favor is giving a person half the answer so they can never have the whole answer alone, because it will lead to their arrogance. Favor is having a child correct the parent so the parent can humble themselves and realize how they look in the eyes of a child. Favor is allowing a flawed system to exist so that humans continue to realize they are incapable of making a perfect system and thus need to keep evolving and also keep asking God for guidance.
Favor has many faces and many purposes. It is not defined by what we feel or know. Favor is the Lord’s tool and He uses it the way He desires. We should be thankful that He desires to love us and use His favor for our good. Let’s stop competing for His favor, as it is not even a competition. Let us instead be grateful that He still wishes to favor the ones He loves. Let us be grateful that we still get to see favor fall to the earth and bless people, even if we are not the ones being blessed. Where favor falls, His love remains. I don’t know about you, but I’m sure glad His love remains with Earth.