“I know God won’t give me more than I can handle. I just wish He didn’t trust me so much”.
We have all heard this anonymous quote from time to time, and with all due respect to anonymous, I disagree with it on so many levels. First off, God never says He won’t give us more than we can handle; He says He won’t give us more than He can handle. (Which, by the way, is anything and everything that He in His sovereign goodness chooses to ordain). Secondly, He doesn’t trust us as individuals. He trusts the God in us. He trusts His own faithfulness despite our lack of faithfulness. He trusts His own plan. But us? He knows that we are frail and weak and human and dust when left to our own humanity. Instead of being insulting, this should be unbelievably comforting because it takes the responsibility to formulate good out of all things His job description, not yours. We are called to trust, to obey, to seek. He asks us to be empty vessels-and don’t miss this- He is the overflow. There is nothing we can muster up within ourselves that will suffice for the greatness God wants to display from within us. But that greatness?
It is totally and fully Himself.
We are dust; yet we are His dust and this changes everything.
Any and all of our moments on earth find meaning in our Creator who set the earth in motion and calms the very raging sea that He caused to rage.
He is the One who deserves, and will ultimately get, the glory.
My question is this:
Do we want this?
Do we truly understand why He gets the glory, and do we deeply and fully want Him to get the glory?
I know, I know. We are supposed to simply say yes, knowing that’s the right answer. Right?
I believe in a God who would rather us wrestle with the hard questions instead of spouting out the “correct” truth. You see, we do not digest something we simply swallow down without wrestling.
It is in the wrestling that we begin to formulate the deepest seated truths within our very core.
It’s why I believe in complete, unedited authenticity both with God, with self, and with others.
If we aren’t talking about the stuff that makes us squirm, then we aren’t really thinking.
I know so many people who go from task to task, trying to avoid pondering the truth about life at all cost. They work, work, work, then play, play play; and if emotions or questions about what really matters ever comes up, they flee.
Because they have forgotten the inevitable truth that every last one of us is going to face, regardless of what we believe.
Let’s just go there.
We are all going to die; and none of us knows when.
Sure, there may be a range for the “normal” amount of years that one might have. Yet, we have all seen it in our own stories; the truth that death can meet us at any point regardless of age.
Whether you spend your days avoiding thinking about it or not, you are going to die.
And then what?
What you think about this is crucial to how you live the remainder of your time here.
I have envisioned the moment often- the girls’ death. Sometimes, I find myself daydreaming about who will go first- them or me. If it’s me, particularly if the unexpected, I find myself anxious about what will happen next. If I’m honest, I usually assume it will be them. I wonder what exactly will happen. Will it be illness? Will we find out about some layer of this disease that will lead to further complications?
This is only morbid to you if you have not been in similar shoes as ours.
Any parent who has lost a child or has a child with medical special needs has envisioned this scenario at least once, some of them playing it over and over like a record in their heads that just won’t stop.
As a Christian, rather than getting caught up in the earthly details, here’s where I fixate my mind:
I picture the moment that we have all passed from this earth. I see Ally and Bailey Grace meeting me at the heavenly gates, clothed in the most beautiful white linen I have ever seen, running-no, sprinting- directly toward me. The road they are running on is the purest gold I can imagine; the gates are made of intricate pearls. There is no disability, no sickness, no mutation in sight. Bailey Grace and Ally appear fully whole- absolutely healed. They latch on to me and we embrace, for as long as we want, for time knows no limit.
Now, I’ll be honest. I don’t know if this moment will ever happen. Truthfully, while the Bible gives us descriptive words and visions of what heaven is like, it doesn’t mention the exacts about our interactions with our loved ones in that moment.
But, you know what it does mention?
Our interaction with our Savior.
And, an honest question I have to ask myself is this:
Do I picture that moment, the One I meet Him finally face-to-face, with as much excitement?
Do I truly get the magnitude of that moment in which I will be clothed in linen white as snow?
Point blank, do I grasp the glory that is coming and do I long for it more than anything else?
That day, however near or far, where I look at the God of the Universe in the eyes, bow down and simply say, “Jesus. I am righteousness because of Christ and Christ alone”.
Simply put- do I want to give Him the glory He deserves in light of that glorious day?
In church, we sometimes assume that He is going to ask us why He should let us into heaven. I know there is a verse or two that suggests this. Yet, this running into our Father’s arms and embracing the One we have longed to fully know our entire lives, this seems more fitting.
Don’t you think that God sees us as I see Ally and Bailey Grace?
Maybe when that day comes in which we pass from earth to heaven, He is going to greet us with the exact same thoughts as I long to greet the girls with:
“There he/she is! Fully whole. Fully healed.”
“No more tears, no more sorrow, no more crying, no more pain, no more death.” (Revelations 21:4)
Does it boggle your mind that the God of the universe longs to embrace you in streets of heaven?
If you aren’t getting why, “Who do you want to get the glory?” and, “What happens when you die?” tie together, let me make it simple for you:
God is ultimately going to get the glory in all things. The ultimate glory is going to appear whenever He comes back or we meet Him in heaven, whichever comes first. If this is the glory we say we desire for all eternity, should we not live as if that is our goal, now?
Forever can begin today.
You see, so many of the verses in the Bible that correlate with glory talk about the glory that will be revealed (Romans 8:18, 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, Colossians 3:4). Yet, in Christ, in the midst of a broken and fallen world, we can find joy and hope and endurance in light of the fact that He has already won the victory and the glory is already His.
We don’t have to wait until we get to the gates to celebrate the Hope that’s already been won.
In light of what we know about what’s coming, we can desire- truly desire- for Him to get the glory now. In all things. In all ways. At all times. No matter what.
While many would say it is depressing to envision our own death or the death of those we love, as a Believer, when I fully remember what Christ says about my time on Earth, I can rejoice and be free from the fear of death that could enslave me (Hebrews 2:15). In fact, He exhorts us to stop spending so much time fixating on the temporary and to start remembering what we are headed for- true freedom, found only in Him.
We do not have to avoid or fear the things that have no hold on us.
We can live all the moments of our time on earth well, fully free, fully hopeful, desperately longing for Him to get all the glory that only He deserves.
Friends, Psalm 102 is a Psalm that speaks poignantly to the broken and depressed. The Psalmist says this,
“For my days consume away like smoke…my heart is smitten like grass and withered, so that (in absorption) I forget to eat my food”- verse 3-4, emphasis mine.
True, he could be talking about actual food and actual like of appetite, yet I believe he speaks to more than meets the eye in these verses. As I have said so many times before, when we are consumed by our own junk, our days pass feeling purposeless. Our hearts are withered when we are absorbed with the unmet expectations or trials of our own lives. Could the food he mentions be the nourishment that comes from the truth of God’s Word and fixing our eyes on His kingdom and His glory instead of our own?
The Psalmist goes on to say these simple words in verse 12,
“But You, O Lord…”
When we are feeling hopeless and downcast, our vision is always turned toward the wrong thing. We must set our eyes on God, His glory, and the things of heaven in order to find joy and peace.
To live fully and freely, our earthly days must be seen with heavenly lenses.
Today, may everything you do and everything you say and everything you think be filtered through the glory that is already His. May we not avoid wrestling through the uncomfortable things in order to see His holiness more clearly, and may our understanding of why He gets the glory spur us on to desire Him to get the glory all the more.
There will be a day.