God’s Favorite Child

These are a few pictures of my family growing up. I’m the oldest of four kids and you might not be able to tell from the pictures, but I was the favorite child. One year we drew names for exchanging Christmas gifts. My mom handled the drawing to make sure no one got themselves, so imagine our surprise on Christmas morning when I got two gifts and my brother Scott got zero. I clinched this favorite child title at a young age.

These are my kids and I bet when you look at their competitive faces, you can imagine this legacy of wanting to be (or just thinking you are) the favorite has passed down to them. Sometimes I tell one of them they are my favorite just to keep the rivalry going. But, of course, I love them all equally. I love them differently because they are unique and special and especially because they are mine! When I look at one of them and say “you’re my favorite!” it’s true every single time. They are each my favorite.

I think we can all agree that it feels great to be the favorite. To feel loved, included, valued, seen. To be important to someone.

Inheritance of Hope’s Co-Founder, Kristen Milligan, talks about all these feelings in her book “Consider It Pure Joy.” She describes navigating life as a young family while they faced her terminal cancer diagnosis. Her kids were 3, 1 and brand new when she had her first surgery–they were a very young family. In sharing her story, Kristen is honest about a lot of feelings she and her family worked through–anger, confusion, wondering if God cared or why this was happening.

But, in the midst of it, she describes feeling so close to God, so tuned in to the way He was working in her life, that she felt like God’s Favorite Child.  Kristen’s faith allowed her to see God’s hand in small and big things that happened each day. She describes little things like the traffic opening up on the George Washington Bridge and big things like her friends and family taking care of her children during a surgery. Kristen understood God was providing for her when the people around her loved her well. This is what she says:

“God assured me repeatedly of His everlasting and unconditional love through gifts and great blessings.  If I did not know that God was just and loved us all equally, I would have been convinced during that time in the fire that I, Kristen, was His most favorite child.  What miraculous peace and joy this brings in the midst of great struggle!”

Kristen didn’t just make up this idea of being God’s favorite to help her feel better in a difficult time. It’s a promise deeply rooted in Scripture. There are many examples, but a simple one I love comes from Isaiah 43:1:

“I have called you by name, you are mine.”

Billions of people have lived on this earth, but when God looks at every single one of us, He knows us personally. He loves the unique things about how we were created and claims us as “mine.”  It’s not really appropriate to go around thinking or saying that you’re the favorite child in your family. However, it’s absolutely appropriate and even encouraged to consider yourself God’s Favorite, and then to ripple that love out to the people around us.

It’s our goal to love families so well this weekend that they leave their Legacy Retreat® feeling like they are God’s Favorite Child. This quote of Kristen’s has become a metric we use as a team to measure how successful we are at serving families at our events. Here are a few things families said at our last Legacy Retreat®:

“It was a much-needed break from everyday life. I was loved on, cared for emotionally, mentally, and physically. I was able to lean into the program and count on volunteers for anything I needed. I never had to ask for help.”

“We felt loved and cared for. It was an amazing weekend and we will never forget it.”

“The love, kindness, and compassion exudes in every event, meal, interaction, and correspondence!”

These families felt like God’s Favorite.

One of the ways God is at work in this world is through His people. This weekend I believe we are the people God has put in position to show His love to our newest IoH families. When they arrive tomorrow, they might be feeling all kinds of things: isolated, lonely, wondering if they matter or if anyone cares and we get to greet them saying “you are not alone – we get it, and we love you. Welcome to the Inheritance of Hope community!”  What an incredible privilege we have ahead. I can’t wait to serve these families of God’s Favorite Children with you!

Betsy Ogren is Inheritance of Hope’s Program Director. She originally shared this devotional with the Orlando Legacy Retreat® team in March 2024.