Glimpses of His Glory
From my bedroom window I can look through the leafy branches of my avocado tree and see the high-rise hotels of Waikiki and the office buildings of downtown Honolulu. It's quite a view, but mostly at night with the sparkling lights. Many of my neighbors, who have lived on this hill since the houses were built, lament over the loss of view of green parkland and sandy beaches being gently washed by ocean waves. I can understand their loss. I have lived long enough to see the replacement of the natural beauty of my island home with "concrete jungle" and the 6th worst traffic of any city in America (USA Today, March 22, 2016).
As a child growing up I remember lush greenery, fragrant flowers, clear blue skies, puffy white clouds that took on amazing shapes, and showers that gave way to magnificent rainbows. God’s magnificent creation was evident all around me. It was easy to glimpse the glory of God when my world was filled with it.
Today, the less than glorious skyscrapers, the freeways winding through the heart of the island, and congested downtown traffic easily distract me from thoughts of the glory of God. But working on my Bible study lesson last week, I read in Revelation 22:3-5, And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no more night there: they need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.
The words leaped out at me, "They shall see His face". I will see His face! I will behold the fullness of His gory! What a thought! What a promise! It has been ringing through my mind and resonating in my heart all week long! I will see the Lord, serve Him, and reign with Him in all His glory and with no worldly, man-made distractions.
The joy of grasping these promises has led me to seek His glory in the world around me. I pulled myself out of bed early one morning to drive to the shore to watch God's sun rise; I walked through the park at the top of my hill and felt small but protected under God's towering Ironwood trees and Norfolk Island pines; I walked my dog by the seashore, let the clear, cool waters wash over my feet and bury my toes in the sand, and I savored the fragrant salt air. And God showed me a magnificent rainbow! I know that all these are mere glimpses of His glory. Here we see Him as in a mirror dimly. But then we will see Him face to face (1 Corinthians 13:12)!
I have discovered that I love searching out glimpses of His glory in this fallen world. What glimpses of His glory have you seen today? Even if you live in a concrete city, far from the countryside, ocean, or mountains, He will show you glimpses of His glory! I know He will! I discovered this week that the very best place to glimpse His glory is in His Word. There we find the glory of His creation, the glory of His Law, the glory of His care for His people, the glory of salvation, the glory of His promises! As believers, our hope is the ultimate glory of seeing Him face to face, but in the meantime we may partake of the blessing of the glimpses of His glory. I think I have become a glory seeker in the world around me, but most of all in Gods Word. Will you join me?
Blossom into a blessing
The picture of the little daisies was taken about a block from my home. They are growing out of a dry crack in the gutter by the curb, surrounded by concrete. Everything around them is brown, dry, and dead because the days have been hot and we have had very little rain over the past few months. Here in Hawaii we usually have plenty of rain and many people do not have sprinkler systems to water their yards, but this year has been different and the grass is brown and dry. It crunches under your feet. My dog doesn’t like to walk in it. Weeds have grown up and now they are drying brown too. But the little daisy plant is blooming in the midst of it all.
Sometimes in our lives we may feel like that little daisy, planted in a hard dry place and faced with difficult circumstances. When that happens, we may be tempted to mope around, complain, become angry, or give in to self-pity. But I don’t believe that God calls us to those indulgences. God calls us to be like the daisy plant. We are to bloom where He has planted us. It is God who chooses the circumstances of each of our lives. And it is God who gives us the strength, not only to endure the hard times, but to triumph over them. When we stop rebelling and demanding our comforts and pleasures, when we submit to Him and choose to be content wherever He has placed us, that is when our lives blossom into a blessing. The apostle Paul refers to the troubles of this life as “momentary, light affliction” that is “producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17). It is our choice whether we look at our situation from our own selfish point of view or from God’s.
Last week I flew to visit my precious mother-in-law who is 97 years old. I have known her since I was fifteen and I have never heard her complain. In fact, I don’t believe I have ever even seen her frown -- not that she has lacked reasons for doing so over the years. Her life has not been easy. She has worked hard and made many sacrifices for her family. Things have not always gone the way she would have liked -- usually because other people just went ahead and did the things they wanted to do without considering how it would affect her. I’m afraid I may have been one of those people a time or two and that pains me deeply. But she has loved me anyway. She has never harbored resentment or held grudges; she just keeps loving all of us. She has always been a godly example and she still is.
At 97 her health is declining and she is weak. But her spirits are up and she always has a smile to share with anyone who is around her. Even when we talk on the phone and I can’t see her, I can hear the smile in her voice. Just as she has done for as long as I have known her, she is blooming where God has planted her. Even though she is in a wheelchair and dependent upon an oxygen tube, she shows no sign of wilting. She is a beautiful sweet scented flower where God has planted her. I am humbled by her grace and submissiveness to the Lord and I am encouraged by her testimony that He is always with her and that He upholds her when she feels she might fail.
So where has God planted you? Will you determine to submit to His working in your life even when it may seem hard? Will you trust in His Word that proclaims, “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans8:28)? Will you humbly yield to his purpose in your life, allowing Him to cause you to bloom where He has planted you? Will you wave the white flag of surrender and let Him use you to be a patch of bright color in a dry, hard spot and a sweet fragrance of Christ in places that desperately need Him?
Let us bloom where He has planted us and blossom into a blessing. It will help make the world a better place and perhaps draw others to Christ our Savior.
I have been involved in Disciplers since 1987, as a discussion leader, teacher, writer, and now as director. I am profoundly committed to the stewardship of this ministry which God has entrusted to me for a time. God’s word is the chief joy of my life. I cherish my personal time in the word, and I am filled with gratitude to be able to share His word with you, my fellow disciples in Christ.