I’m convinced that if I saw God’s glory right in front of me, I wouldn’t be able to express my awe and fear of it. Would I tremble at His throne? Or stand speechless? Would we laugh as I danced into His arms, finding that complete joy I’d searched for all my life?
Some days I lose sight of this. Well, try most days. I guess that’s what happens when you work long hours, your days packed full of steeling yourself against the crazy that inevitably surrounds your life.
You get caught up in it. Like building a castle on the beach, with your back to the rising tide. Unaware that in minutes it could all be washed away.
While I pray and read God’s word, and try to be a good Christian girl, I have wandered from how God really wants to work in my life. I’ve forgotten that it isn’t about striving, or downloading every sermon podcast or listening to Christian music nonstop or swearing off reality TV. It’s not even close.
I’m not sure if I’m the only one this happens to, but as my days wind down, the stress of it squashes me like Dorothy’s house smothering the Wicked Witch. After the tornado of events, my thoughts toss and turn as I process everything and suddenly I’m so wrapped up in a web of discouragement and fear that I’m chained to these fears and completely cut off from focusing on Jesus.
And then on days like today, I wake up, even more distracted at all I have to do, when I sifted through 2nd Corinthians and the words struck me as odd. Maybe even a little out of place.
Words I’ve read countless times growing up in a Christian home now were causing all sorts of questions to crop up. You’d think I’d have figured everything out about the Christian walk. But as I stared at those words I caught myself laughing.
Paul says: “For this light and momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.”
While he’s in prison. Where everything looks like life has turned upside down. I’m sure people sneered at him and mocked him in the streets. He had every right to be hopeless and upset at God. Why was he then writing a letter to a church filled with encouraging words reminding them of God’s glory, brushing off the severe trials the world persistently threw at him as light and momentary?
God accomplishes His glory in hidden ways, leading along paths we’d never even consider walking down. In this life though, we still pass through these places experiencing embarrassment and humiliation. Instead of joy and hope filling our lives, the season dissolves into one of intense pain and loneliness. Of pounding fear and betrayal and heartache. But even in these circumstances God is using them to reveal His glory in the world and in us.
Through the trials of my own life, I am learning to rely on him. Through broken, surrendered lives, God always shows up, presenting His glory to us in ways we never could have even imagined. Instead of striving in this season, and especially in this new year, I want to fix my eyes on the God who has the bigger picture of my life already dreamed up in his heart since forever ago, and can’t stop loving me and displaying His faithfulness to me each day. He is showing me that my perspective is skewed. I focus on the impossibility. The problem that festers like a wound in my soul. It seems to break me. I wonder sometimes if I will even survive this season in one piece.
Yet, in the midst of every trial, He is moving and creating something beautiful in our lives. He is preparing me for glory. What a crazy thought. As he works in me to make me more like Him, He calls me out of despair and darkness.
So this new year, I hope we can be like Paul. Making Jesus Christ our center focus so that even amidst our trials – the hugeness of our pains and struggles that seem to blend in with reality, the distractions that keep us from seeking his face, I hope we rise above this and simply be broken. I hope we trust in the God who knows the whole story and is leading us out of this darkness into His glory.