When the chips are down. When the rubber meets the road. When all hell breaks loose, literally. When “things don’t quite turn out.” When your life is wrecked, devastated, turned upside down. When your heart is torn into shreds and fed to the dogs. When the worst thing you could imagine… happens. How is God glorified in that?This is really a re-phrasing of the age-old question: How can a loving God allow death and suffering in His world? And although the answer to that is inestimably crucial, the answer is too much for the scope of this article. If you don’t know the answer, please, please email or comment and let me know, and I will be more than happy to explain it. Knowing this is vital, absolutely critical.
But when I phrase it this way… the question opens itself up to being rephrased again, and to really reaching into the heart of a struggle that I see many Christians battling with. A turmoil I see in the lives of people I love. So… you know who you are… this is for you. * smiles *
When everything is against me. When the world opens up at my feet to swallow me…
How do I glorify God in that?
You see how it’s connected? Think about it. God hates sin. He hates evil. He hates death, suffering, misfortune. He uses it, yes, but He doesn’t like it. It is not a part of His perfection which He wants for us (and which He will give us in heaven).
So how is He glorified in it on Earth? And as Christians, where do we fit into that? We are commanded to glorify Him in everything we do, in every circumstance. And really, if you think about it, what else should we want to do?!
So… how do we do it?
No… scratch that. It’s not.
Really. It is. It is superhuman, supernatural — absolutely completely a miracle.
And that is the key. See, in our own strength we can’t glorify God in circumstances like that. We can’t do anything that would bring Him honor or praise or bless Him in any way. So… we do things we can’t do. Impossible things. It’s really as simple as that.
Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.
What is peace?
Look at a glass of water or a still lake. Look at it… placid… smooth… unrippled. Untouched, unbroken. It is at peace.
Drop a pebble in. It breaks, the surface begins going everywhere, reacting to the stone. It is troubled.
God’s peace is this: Doing what is right regardless of circumstances.
Some people say it is freedom from harm. Which isn’t true. The Holy Spirit brings about peace, as well as troubles and harm (unless being stoned and drowned and beheaded and robbed and broken and tormented doesn’t count as harm…). If peace is freedom from harm, then He contradicts Himself. God forbid.
It might be more accurate to say that it is freedom from fear of harm. But even that isn’t true, because fear is not something you can really get rid of. It is a God-given impulse of our flesh, and we can’t rid ourselves of it any more than we can remove our need for water and food. What really matters isn’t being unfearful, but being courageous.
Courage is doing what is right despite being scared.
That is peace. It is choosing not to let circumstances control you. It is not reacting to things that happen to you — but choosing to respond instead. It is not letting your heartbreak determine what is on your heart’s throne. Doing that is impossible.
The pain is there. It will be there.
But that pain isn’t bad. Not if you glorify God in it. Then it becomes a wondrous thing.
When the very thing which is a punishment and consequence of rebellion against God brings glory to God, when imperfection blesses perfection… that is glorifying God.
So in essence, the way you glorify God in trials is simply to do what you would have done if you didn’t have trials. Make sense?
You still love. You still have joy (not necessarily happiness, though). You still serve. You still forgive. You still trust. You still pray. You still draw closer to God. You are still a little Christ, a little light of His.
And the very fact that you are doing all that while being tormented is what brings God ten-fold glory. Because it is impossible.
Now, you might have noticed that I didn’t give any Scripture references in this whole blog post. It quotes from the Bible extensively inline, refers to Scripture constantly, and is built solidly upon multiple studies of several topics, but I didn’t give any references. So, I am curious if any of you have any Scripture quotes which apply to this which you would like to share in the comments. Or even if you don’t want to share them, go ahead anyway. 😉
A comment form is right below, and you can get Scripture here: www.sir-emeth.com/bible
Have at it. 🙂