There are three horizontal windows in the front of our house. They are about three feet wide and 12 inches tall, and they are stacked on top of each other. From the outside of the house, they provide some pretty cool visual detail on the 2nd story (as you can see above the front door). From the inside, they are at the landing where the steps turn from the kitchen and living room open space to go to the third floor bedrooms.
I have my cedar chest sitting there on the landing, mainly because… well… its a huge landing and it seemed to be the right piece of furniture to set there. Because it has a padded top, it is often a resting place for Oliver. Other times, its a barking perch for Gracyie as she surveys her domain for the neighborhood watch.
One morning recently I decided I would sit there for a bit and watch the sunrise as it crept over the horizon. The colors I could see were going to be just brilliant.
There was just one problem.
The other houses in the neighborhood blocked my line of sight. Pretty badly. All I could see was some of the pink and tangerine hues peeking out on either side of my neighbors houses. Bummer.
But, eager to have some peace before the busyness of the day started, I sat there, hugged my knees, and started praying. ‘I wish I could see the whole sunrise,’ I thought. It would be so much better.
Then quietly I heard a whisper, as faint as ever:
Sometimes my glory is hidden by the things of earth
And although I knew what the Lord was saying, and although I had a very visible example of what He was talking about, I felt immediately like Jesus’s disciples, just like in the gospels where they would pull him aside after a great parable or analogy and ask him what the heck he was talking about. Have you ever felt like that?
All I wanted to do was ask ‘Can you explain it to me better, Lord? What do you really mean, and how does that relate to life in the real world?’ The house blocking the sunset is perfect. I get that. But you know I have trouble thinking outside the box, Lord. Help me understand what you are trying to get me to see.
I find myself coming back to this question often, especially when I am with people. I find myself asking the Lord to open my eyes to see His glory at work in their lives and what they do
It has made me wonder if its because I tend to dwell in the practical that
I struggle to see the glory.
I know I can’t be the only one who has that struggle.
Scripture is full of verses about the glory of the Lord, and most of them probably make us think of His beauty in creation, His beauty in the cross and his self-sacrificing love for us. Maybe they make us think about stories of how He has held us in the deepest, darkest times in our lives. Those are all beautiful examples, and those I get.
But a book I have been re-reading lately has made me remember this:
God’s glory is ALSO like fingerprints of his work in the world to redeem and change lives.
Like … when people work together in a community to save children being taken for sex trafficking, and bring down the systems that facilitate such injustice. Or when someone figures out, even if they aren’t in church, (or, even if they are of another faith) that forgiveness is a good thing. Or when people work to have an honest conversation about difficult topics like prejudice and bias, or do the hard work of healing relationships. Or when people overcome addictions through groups like AA, or rally around their friend or neighbor with a mental illness.
The more I look around, the more I am convinced of this fact: God is not limited to working or showing His presence, his reality, and his impact in the world to just people who claim Jesus as their Savior. Does He use those who call him Lord to show his Glory? Absolutely! That is part of God’s call to us as believers, as reflected in two well know verses in both the Old and New Testaments:
Isaiah 43:12 “You are my witnesses,’ declares the Lord, ‘That I am God’”
1 Peter 2:9 “….you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light”
But for those of us know know the Lord, my question is this: Can we see and call out the truth, maybe even the fingerprints of God, that are sometimes hidden….
Behind the things that dazzle and steal our attention
Behind a religious facade or a theology we might not resonate with
Behind people we don’t understand
Behind a wall of fear, in ourselves or in others
Behind a mountain of insecurities
Behind hurt and pain that seems too difficult to let go of?
Or are we too afraid?
Is our understanding of God too small?
If God’s glory is to be found in the hidden places, maybe we who know Him still need to ask for our blind eyes to be allowed to see.
May you see the glory hidden by the things of the earth in your life around you today!