Friday, February 22, 2013

Strange Glory

“These words spake Jesus, and lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son also may glorify Thee” (John 17:1).

Shortly after His request for glory, the Lord Jesus Christ would suffer unjust accusation and hang upon a cross of shame, rejection, sorrow, agony and death.

Human understanding might conclude that God did not answer the prayer, particularly if the observer knew that Christ experienced not only human wrath on the cross, but also Divine smiting and forsakenness. “We did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted” (Isaiah 53:4). If the prayer was in fact answered, we must accept the fact that the Lord’s definition of “glory” must be quite different than our own.

It is. While the glory of God often manifests itself in great displays of power, illumination, majesty and honor, it may also be revealed in ways that seem strange and counter-intuitive. Sometimes mangers, obscurity, crosses and tombs serve as perplexing temples of glory. We must remember this truth as we pray. Our Heavenly Father’s “glorious” answers may require challenging and difficult means whereby faith will be necessary if we are to know that He has responded to our request. The Apostle Paul’s request for the removal of a thorn was answered by the supply of grace sufficient to survive and thrive in the midst of enduring pain (II Corinthians 12:9). We will doubtless experience the same at times, receiving supplies of glory that come to us clothed in seemingly unlikely garb. “Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass” (Matthew 21:5).

Of course, the cross led to resurrection and the obvious glory in which our risen Lord forever resides. The same will be true in our lives – or perhaps after our present life. We will one day discover that glory revealed on crosses and grace supplied for enduring thorns was glory and grace indeed. God displays the goodness of His heart rather than the power of His hand in such times for those with eyes to behold Light in the darkness. It is not an easy way. But it is often God’s way, and as His trusting children, it is often our way.

“Then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday.” (Isaiah 58:10)

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