God's glory hope

The Things We Do for Fame and Glory

9:38 AMHeather

"It's like Miley Cyrus!" I said.

She laughed and asked, "What on earth do you mean?"

"You know, like Hannah Montana. It's the best of both worlds!" I explained.

I had taken my friend Lauren to lunch. As we caught up, she made a comment about something being the best of both worlds, and for some reason, my crazy mind turned to the theme song of Hannah Montana. Our conversation thus began a rabbit trail about the current status of Miley Cyrus and the things she is doing for fame and glory.

I told Lauren that I wonder what her future self would tell her current self. Will her future, more mature, possibly mother or eventually grandmother self want to scold her current self for selling out dignity and self-control and even a decent covering of clothes for the sake of fame and glory?

Glory. It's become a nearly cliche term we use for all sorts of things from YouTube viral sensations to the glory of God. We have thus become desensitized to its actual meaning. We have become numb to the weight and worth of the idea of glory, ignoring the significance it actually contains. 

Glory has been something rattling around my brain as I've been reading Isaiah 6. This chapter is one of my husband's all-time favorite passages. But for some reason, I'm just now really taking a close look. And I can hardly get through one verse each day, with the heaviness of its content. Today, I finally came to verse 5. But let's go back a step and look at verses 3 through 5 to put it all in context.

And they [the seraphs] were calling to one another, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory." At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. "Woe is me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty."

When the seraphs beheld the glory of God, they used two wings to cover their faces and they could not help but call out to one another in order to praise him and recognize his fame. And those genuine and heartfelt praises shook the doorposts as it all unwound the prophet Isaiah. When he caught a glimpse of the kingship of God Almighty, he completely grasped his own ruined state. The glory of God brought Isaiah's heart to a prostrate position of humility. Isaiah comprehended true fame and true glory and that put him in his place.


Thus, I've begun asking God to give me a glimpse of it. Just help me to have eyes to see his glory all around me, in all of creation and throughout my day so that I can be rightfully positioned in my heart attitude.

Tuesday, I looked for it. I strained my eyes at the blue skies and fluffy skies and thanked him for them. I even said out loud as I drove, "That's a display of your glory!" And then I waited for the warm fuzzy that would fill my heart and change my day and change my entire life.

Instead, my van started doing some weird thing where the engine shuttered and strained to accelerate. 

Gee, thanks God. 

Yes, that was my honest response. And I'm with you--surprising that a bolt of lightening did not just take me then.

So, I quickly U-turned and went back one block to our usual mechanic. I half-heartedly thanked him that at least I broke down right by the car place we use. But it wasn't very sincere.  And when the young mechanic treated me like the stereotypical little lady who knows nothing about cars, I was completely offended and officially ticked off.

Why, yes, young man. I did fill it with gas. Don't let the boxed color that covers my gray hairs fool you. I've actually been a driver for nearly thirty years. I have indeed mastered the art of filling my van with gas. 

Hmpf. Then he shrugged when I pointed out the odd sounds as if he doubted I knew the difference between the brake and the gas pedal. Sure, I may have mixed that up the first time behind the wheel, causing me to drive into a building. But I've had that down for a long time now.

As I climbed out of my van to call my husband for rescue, I gave into the situation completely. To all the feelings I was feeling. Offended. Frustrated. Woe is me, my van broke down. Rushed for time to accomplish the tasks of the day. Weary about the expensive repair that will be putting us right back into debt. 

Blah, blah, blah. 

I exhaust myself. And everyone around me, I'm sure. So I asked God-- Hey! What about your glory? That's what I was hoping for today. Some lovely light show in the sky or some miraculous event or some strange coincidence that shows you are Master of the Universe. 

What about that, God? Huh?

While I battled internally, here's what came to my mind.

My glory isn't just "out there." The wonder of my glory is that I would dare to let it be seen from within you. YOU are an instrument to my glory. Your response to choose to trust me and to remind your feelings that I am boss...that is to my glory. So, while you were busy looking all over for the glory, you've just missed an opportunity to be used to show it.

Ouch. 

Mind blown. 

Duh. 

Some days, I wonder if I've been listening at all, this lifetime I've spent going to church and digging in Bible studies. Because sometimes I see something with fresh eyes and I wonder if I was ever really paying attention at all. 

You want to know about glory and fame and what we attempt to do to earn it and what it's really all about?

By our actions and our words and our attitudes, we are either stealing God's glory, hiding God's glory or displaying God's glory. We are either extinguishing the flame of his glory as we seek to light our own lanterns. Or we are blocking God's glory with our sinful tendencies. Or, we are surrendered to be the jar of clay that lets his glory shine through. Heavenly rewards are either gained or lost in these daily, tiny, mundane moments of choice. 

We are called to lay down our lives for another. Letting the aggressive driver in during traffic. Or getting up off the couch three seconds after you sat down because your child needs you. Choosing grace rather than expressing complaints, even when the complaints are warranted. All these choices expose God's glory. They are all saying yes to being a jar of clay.

Posting on social media to gain attention or credit or sympathy for ourselves. Being consumed with clothes and appearance to earn compliments. Allowing yourself to feel frustrated because you feel unappreciated when nobody notes your contribution. These things all steal God's glory. They all extinguish God's glory to light your own.

Floating on the winds of your emotions and letting them dictate your mood and your day. Fighting hard for "your rights" and "to be heard" because you deserve that. Asserting yourself above others because your needs are more important. Working through your own strength and ignoring God altogether. All of it covers God's glory. It all hides it behind the dark shroud of human tendencies.

Make no mistake.

His glory is so brilliant that it can hardly be tolerated by our weak human eyes. It would blind us all in its full magnitude. It blinded Paul on the road to Damascus. Being in the presence of God's glory caused Moses' face to glow with a brilliance that demanded a veil covering so that others could stand to look Moses in the eye. The effects of his glory are that radiant. 

His glory--the tiniest glimpses of it--changes everything. It puts everything in its proper perspective. Because its majesty makes all suffering, pain and struggles worth it. It sets all that happens on this earth and in this life, on this side of heaven, into its rightful context.

When we gain the tiniest taste of his true glory, it changes our appetites for anything less. The victory of seeing his glory causes all else to be a defeat to which we would gladly concede.

Glory is not just a church word. It's not just a lyric for Sunday hymns.

It is the fullness of his presence. It is the brilliance of his love. It is the fulfillment and satisfaction that shakes the hold of all earthly pursuits. It is the foothold that makes us release our grip on anything else...on anything less.

So let's not just pray to see his glory around us in the blue skies and amazing sunsets. 

Let's pray to participate in his glory by being a conduit of it.

That's what happens every time we suppress our desires for the sake of serving others.

That's what happens every time we tell our feelings who is boss by dwelling on the facts of Scripture. 

That's what happens every time we run to God first with every weakness and ask him to show up strong.

That's what happens every time we utter, "I do believe! Help my unbelief!"

It's what happens every time we set our ambitions and dreams and hopes aside and we tell our soul to trust them all to the God who made us in the first place and knows all of our days.

His glory changes everything.

May we let it be the pillar of cloud by day and the fire by night to guide our way.

May we also keep this in mind.

Sometimes, all feels dark and we feel far away from God and we feel quite stuck. Because sometimes, he places us in the cleft of a rock and he covers us with his hand until he has passed by. In those very dark and dismal and lonely times, we will not even realize that he was passing through it all until he removes his hand over us and we see his back. Only in hindsight can we see how near God was all the time. Only afterward can we realize that his glory was all around us even in the midst of it all. And he just could not let us see his face-- "for no one can see the glory of my face and live," (Exodus 33:13-23).

Sometimes, we wonder where God's glory is and why it seems to have been extinguished because darkness is closing in on us. We cannot see that God is actually protecting us and the revelation of his glory will only be grasped in hindsight.

His glory.

 
When we someday step fully into its warm embrace, we will never regret a single thing done to reveal it on earth.

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