Yesterday I wrote a devotion for Proverbs 31 Ministries. In light of all that happened in Texas this past Sunday, I’m thinking maybe you might need this encouragement too. I had to go back and read the words I wrote to remind myself of the truth of 2 Corinthians 4:18. Yep, sometimes we need to preach to ourselves.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” 2 Corinthians 4:18 (NIV)
I sat playing a card game with my young son. It was one of the best summers ever. Steven was savoring every minute of the long hot days, our golden retriever delivered seven adorable puppies, and after years of negative pregnancy tests and doctor visits, a new life grew in my womb.
In the middle of enjoying the moment with Steven, I felt a sensation that made my world stand still. A trip to the bathroom confirmed my greatest fear.
Later that day, as I sat in the doctor’s office listening to his condolences for the loss of this much-prayed-for child, all I could think of was God, how could You?
I drove home. Climbed into bed. Pulled the covers over my empty womb and empty heart and cried.
I was mad at God. If this is how You love me, then forget it. I gave God the silent treatment — as if I could somehow pay Him back.
I felt betrayed by the one supposed to love me most. Even though I was mad at God, I knew He loved me and would somehow use all this pain for good. Still, I didn’t like it.
Could the puncture wounds in the canvas of life — the losses, the disappointments, the crushing blows — actually become the places where we can peer beyond earthly trappings into glory moments? Places where God makes His presence known?
I believe they could be … if we let them.
Shattered dreams, broken relationships, tragic losses or unfulfilled longings can make it difficult to feel God’s presence, see His hand and hear His voice. However, in my experience, these glory moments are lost when we tune God out in anger. I know that’s what happened to me.
God stays, but the sadness in our own hearts has drawn the shades and locked the doors to His presence.
People throughout the Bible voiced disappointment when God didn’t act as they’d hoped. David cried, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning?” (Psalm 22:1). Even Jesus, on the cross, did not call out the comforting words of the 23rd Psalm, but the agonizing words of the 22nd.[clickandtweet handle=”” hashtag=”” related=”” layout=”” position=””]Even when we complain of God’s silence or seeming indifference, God is always working behind the scenes in ways we may never understand.[/clickandtweet]
Three months after the loss of my second child, I broke my silence with God and prayed, “Oh God, please open my eyes to see Your glory in this situation. If I could just see her. Please Lord, give me a glimpse.”
And then God pulled back the curtain in my mind, and I envisioned this child, healthy and whole and playing at the feet of Jesus. Surrounded by God’s glory face-to-face. Radiant resplendent glory. Not an ounce of pain to be seen.
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen (our circumstances), but on what is unseen (God’s presence), since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18, parentheses mine).
One day, it will all make sense. Until then … we trust. And when we have faith to keep our eyes open during the dark times, God will scatter moments of sudden glory where we sense His presence like stars in the inky sky. We hold fast and continue following Jesus — even when we aren’t sure where that may lead.
Lord, sometimes I don’t really like how my life is playing out. But I know You are in control and Your ways are always good. Help me not miss the glory moments in the difficulties of life. I know diamonds show up best on black velvet. Help me see Your glory on the background of dark circumstances. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Do you long for something more in your relationship with God? The good news is that something more doesn’t mean doing more. God’s not waiting for you to get your spiritual life “right.” He wants to meet you right where you are … in the middle of your busy, messy day. Sharon Jaynes’ book, A Sudden Glory: God’s Lavish Response to Your Ache for Something More, helps you experience God’s presence through moments of sudden glory in your everyday life.