“Jesus responded, didn’t I tell you you would see God’s glory if you just believe?” (John 11:40)
It was 4 weeks ago I read that in a coffee shop around the corner. It stuck. It was only the verse of the day on my Bible app of my phone. It was only a sentence. It was only my meek attempt at getting in the Word as cars buzzed past and coffee brewed and my inbox piled up with work and my to-do list grew longer and I grew more still. And for 4 hours I just sat there and thought about what it must be like to just believe and receive God’s glory. To have the faith that I would see it if only I would believe.
Just believe, he says. Just believe. Casually, JUST believe. Don’t read a book or lay this sin down, don’t toil over how your life looks, don’t primp and pluck the bad out of your life waiting for it to become a wholly, holy picture. Just believe.
I read more pages of the Bible that day than I did Pharmacology.
I told you so, He says. Here we busy ourselves with making our lives look perfect before inviting him in. But he is present, before we prepare. He asks for our mess, our unkept laundry and crumbs swept under the rug in the living room, crumpled up papers, the five empty mugs that clang around my 4Runner every time a take a hard turn, the unkept lawn, and yoga pants I wore maybe one too many times, and dissatisfied taste of our hearts.
Martha was too busy preparing her house for the entrance of Jesus into her house, she was too grieved over the loss of her brother Lazarus to ask Jesus to enter in her life. She was too busy that she let him pass her by, without reaching out to him. She shut him out, busied herself, and alienated herself from the one person who could help her and bring her peace. Through her tears she could only see a blurred image of what was in front over her. And somewhere we have to “stop the glorification of busy”, drop our perfectly held plans for our life, and pick up as much glory as can fill our palms.
She feared what might happen if she did believe, so she didn’t.
Mary sought Jesus, and soaked in his presence at his feet. In quiet faith, she was still and believed.
She expected what might happen if she did believe, so she did.
You can see God’s glory, too. And he just can’t pass me by.
And the best is, you don’t have to even look for it. It’s just there.
And still best yet is, the glory isn’t conditional, it exists outside of what we deem good or bad. It is there. Just there, just believe.
It’s there when you get the news you wanted or you didn’t, when your kids call home or they don’t, when you pass a test or completely bomb it, when you screw up wildly beyond you could have ever imagine, he even shouts his glory in the dust of failure. It’s there found in faith when you succeed beyond what you could have ever possibly hoped for, when God feels close enough to feel his breath and when he feels farther than the sun. Its in the wake of mistakes and precedes the uselessness of losing your job. It’s deeper than the deepest debt, reaches higher than any substance high, is more contagious than an infectious disease, more universal than a smile.
I wrote this post almost 4 weeks ago. I never posted it because, it’s hard to really say why. But yesterday brought news that was worth sharing in God’s glory, and his unconditional glory at that.
My mom’s cancer shrank.
Doctor’s are dumbfounded, and I can’t say that it’s the first time. It seems to be a common thing with those who believe. (Take a peek at all the glory God is getting from my friend Ben). Often, we spend time wondering why bad things happen to good people. It’s not the deep philosophical question everything thinks it to be. Its simple. And it’s because these are the people that allow God to use them the most. Instead of shrinking back and becoming a hermit, my mom continues to boldly speak the name of Jesus, tell of his provision, and sing of his JOY. She still puts others before herself. She walks in fullness in all the Lord has for her, never forsaking His name, never once questioning him or complaining of the hardship he has aligned in her path. She gracefully steps over every hurdle, and climbs her way to the top and her view and closeness to the Lord is much more in tune than I could ever hope for. She continues to hum along to the song he has given her, and sing the glory of his name.
I can’t help but wonder if news had come differently yesterday morning, and remind myself even then of His goodness.
Goodness that exceeds the bounds of circumstances.
The definition of good, our earthly definition of good, is broken by the way God allows all things to be used to point a magnifying glass toward him.
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Ps. 18:2
I’m humbled and in awe at what God can do for those who believe. Mostly not by how MRI tests are measured, but by the growth in heart and the closeness and vigor with which he chooses to pursue his children. I’m marked by reveling that I had chosen to be so quiet in fear about today’s tests, and now I have but no choice than to stand on the mountaintops and point higher, higher, and bend my knees lower, lower in gratitude.
In what we view as a successful MRI, or given the maybe un-sucess our measure is not found in a black and white scan, but glory God receives and this mustard seed sized faith he continues to grow faithfully. Faith not merited by the doctor’s shaking the heads in question, but rather by doctor’s in awe of a woman’s journey and belief. Faith unparalleled by strength and hands gripped in Someone greater. Faith not that we are healed this side of heaven of all our sickness and sin, but faith that he has already healed us by acquiring our citizenship.
But gracious, are we so glad to have something worth celebrating. He gives, just what we need.
Against all hope, they hoped. And believed God would fulfill His promises. Romans 4:18