It’s a lovely morning in Victoria Square, and the sun is shining beautifully on all the apartment buildings across from my seat at my dining room table. We’ve come through all the cookies and turkeys of Christmas week, and settled into a more rigorous schedule of planning and goal setting for 2021. All that has me thinking about how much glory is at our finger tips when we really exercise our faith.
I have to admit I don’t feel too much glory when I’m blissfully scrubbing my balcony (I love scrubbing down porches and balconies with sudsy water) and a shrill yell resounds from below. (The question is always if I should show my face and apologize profusely from my perch above or if I should retreat silently into my apartment with my bucket and broom and wait for silence.)
What about days filled with clogged drains and strained communication? Where is the glory in that?
How can the 99% of our mundane life hold an eternal weight of glory?
All of us have a situation we wish would be different, a friend we wish hadn’t hurt us, or a goal we wish we could have met. When one situation is resolved, another one is sure to ensue because that is the nature of life. It’s been really fascinating for me to watch the global responses to the changes this 2020 and the realization that we really aren’t used to having things go out of our control. Many times we haven’t learned the art of letting go enough to lift our head to see another perspective.
Women of Faith don’t actually need every hurt or disappointment resolved to see glory in their daily lives. That’s what heaven is for; perfect resolution to all we ever wondered about. I’d like to hurry there some days, selfishly wishing I could skirt all this stretching and growing into His image and just be lost in perfect beauty. I think all of us long for something to fill a really glory-sized hole in our hearts, because we are created to be connected to something (someone!) supernatural.
Lockdowns and viruses, changed plans and disappointments don’t destroy us when we’re really holding onto that supernatural someone. It’s not disappointment or pain that will destroy us, but our response to that supernatural someone who is so sovereign over it. That’s why we can release the people that have hurt us and the circumstances that have left us swirling without any idea of what we’re going to do, because we know a God who has every path established ahead of us.
Nothing is a surprise to Him.
Mary and Martha were waiting for Jesus, and it must have felt like some of the years we wait for Him to show up in the way we want Him. He didn’t come the way they wanted Him. He didn’t show His face when the crisis climaxed and Lazarus took his last breath and every hope they had was gone.
Then He came.
Martha ran to meet Him and when Mary heard of His coming she “rose quickly and went to Him.”
I wonder how many of us stay stuck inside our homes and refuse to follow Jesus to the graves of broken dreams and shattered relationships. I wonder how many of us sit resenting the timing of God’s touch in our lives instead of following Him when He comes.
Mary and Martha followed Jesus to the grave.
“Take back the stone.”
“Lord, by the this time there will be an odor, for He has been dead four days!”
“Didn’t I tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”
Maybe today Jesus is standing at the tombs of our pain or disappointment. I wonder how often He has to tell us to roll back the stone. The stones of our experiences can be really heavy, and it can feel infinitely more comfortable to leave them securely in place than to roll them back at His command and expose all the death and smell inside.
Many of us stay stuck in our pain, never leaving our home (painful circumstance) to follow Jesus to the graves of our deepest devastations. If we make it to the grave, we would rather focus on how bad the smell is then obey His voice because we haven’t believed in His resurrection.
“Take away the stone.”
That’s Jesus’ word to us today, as we stand with Him like Mary and Martha full of grief and unmet expectation.
“If you believe you will see glory!”
We will never experience the resurrection of our deepest grief if we do not obey the commands of Jesus in our hardest moments. Mary didn’t feel the glory, she smelled the death. We often don’t feel the resurrection, we feel the death. Resurrection doesn’t usually come overnight, it comes after a long season of choosing to believe in the supernatural person of Jesus Christ. It comes with steps of obedience when He invites us to participate in the process. It comes with never loosing sight of His face or the sound of his voice.
I can’t imagine the absolute amazement Martha and Mary had on their faces when a living, moving body stepped out of that grave. I’ve lost my own brother and long for the day when the “dead in Christ will rise first” and I can see him rise out of his grave and maybe meet me in the air.
I’m pretty sure God will look down at me as I rise to heaven and say, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”
“I believe, Lord.”
We have a new year ahead of us ridden with opportunities to face our deepest griefs and disappointments with the reality of a promised glory. We will always grieve and feel the reality of sorrow, but as women of faith we will do so with the absolute belief that glory is coming. That glory doesn’t come through ruminating about politics or viruses, hurts or disappointments, but by joining Mary in rising quickly to go to Jesus and believing His power is enough to obey Him in the face of insurmountable difficulty.
Viruses and politics can’t turn the world upside down, but resurrection power can and when we believe in it it shakes everything into place and we see Jesus as He really is and us as we really are and just step into our place as ambassadors for Him. None of us can resurrect anything or anyone and it gets really frustrating when we try. Join me in facing the reality around me this 2021, with the overwhelming reality of a resurrected Jesus who is in the business of glory.
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 11 Corinthians 4:6