So my blogging goes a little something like this: I pray for God to humbly reveal what He wants to speak through me. He, in His goodness, reveals one word that I ingest, pray over, and eventually put down in a post. It’s really a fun process and through it, I learn more than I ever think I will. This word, however, has ended up teaching me the most.
Glory. God’s glory is beyond my comprehension and it is a word I say with deep reverence. But, frankly, when God gave me this word, glory, I really had no clue what I was going to say, much less stretch into a whole blog post. I honestly didn’t want to do it and started searching and trying to find a new word hidden in plain view. What did this have to do with my chronic illness journey anyhow? (Don’t you love how we question God, like WE know what is best and what isn’t worth OUR time? Sigh. So much yet to learn…). So, after much procrastinating and seeing “glory” appear everywhere (sometimes I have to be smacked upside the head to get it), I started where I usually do – with scripture. I found some great verses on the glory of God and praising His name. Yes – He is so worthy of our praise… so, so worthy! Yet I felt like I was missing something. Then I saw it – it practically jumped out and bit me. It was a verse that made me stop with puzzled curiosity.
Job 29:20 says “My glory will not fade; the bow will be ever new in my hand.” Ok, wait. Is Job talking about his own glory? I don’t really know how I feel about Job having glory. In my mind, God is the only one who should have glory, right? You hear of athletes who are in it for “the glory” and that’s born of self-seeking, self-exalting hearts. So why would Job, a man after God’s own heart, talk about HIS own glory? To figure this out, I dug deeper and realized why God wanted me to study this very word. He’s pretty amazing that way.
My glory will not fade
Psalm 73:24 shows us that we can have glory – glory given by our one true God. “You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.” If there was one person who whole-heartedly embraced guided counsel from God, it was Job. In return, he received the strengthening glory from God, instead of the selfish glory from man, that eventually turns empty and fades. Even with all he is going through, when he says his God-given glory will not fade, I believe he is telling us that he is not exhausted in the path God has him on. He is continuing, pushing through it all, by listening to His voice. Not only is he persevering, but it’s with vigor and strength that he drives forward. It’s not a slow walk – it’s one of a passionate, confident sprint.
The bow will be ever new in my hand
The bow is a symbol of vigor and strength, (notice a theme here?) and the fact that he gathered it in his hands says he, himself, is strong & ready to defend (or stand) for something. Listen to what the Kiel and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament has to say about this verse:
The fundamental character of his way of thinking and acting, was a holding fast to the will of God, … and judgement and decision in favour of right and equity against wrong and injustice.
Job is holding fast to the will of God and is at the ready to defend righteousness. He is persevering and driving forward with a forceful confidence – plowing through a world full of sin, yet he remains strong. Even in the midst of his trials, he has full trust in God, because he is listening to God’s counsel. He is ready to defend, for he knows he has the strength of his God in his hands. Well, so much for thinking this verse had nothing to do with me.
I try. I really do try to hold fast to the will of my God, yet most days are filled with too much pain to move or even think, clouding my judgement – keeping me from seeing the bigger picture of my life. I don’t know if I could even bend down to pick up a bow today. But, that’s the key isn’t it, Lord? Picking it up- that’s the first step you are calling me to take. But Lord, most days I don’t feel that confidence or strength to persevere. Most days I feel weak and febble and not worth the dust on its string. How can I gain that confidence and strength to continue when tomorrow is just more of the same? You know where God is pointing me with this? It all comes down to hope…
“Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:30–31. That promise, O my sweet Lord, is what my heart needed to hear today. By simply hoping in a God that never changes, who’s character is utterly trustworthy, I can not only make it through this very day – I can SOAR. He promises me that I will not grow faint and weary from my storms, if I hope in Him. Then, I will feel His strength and His glory in all this darkening chaos of life.
After all, God has never promised we wouldn’t have suffering in our lives. I have to remind myself that from time to time, when my lack of confidence fails to pick up that bow. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18). Glory will be revealed in us – did you catch that? But before that glory is revealed, we have to go through some pretty rough spots, thus molding and shaping our hearts into the one He wants us to be. Sometimes, that molding is pretty painful, I know, yet He promises that these sufferings will be totally worth it! We just have to clutch onto the will of God harder than we hold onto our circumstances. And if we fail, we take a deep breath and pick up that bow again. And if you can’t bend down today, sweet friend, my bet is God will place it in your seeking, open hands.
Sweet Jesus, thank you for whispering to my heart what I didn’t even know I needed to hear. I fail Lord, all too many times, at resting my hope in ONLY you. When the pain is too intense and the suffering great, help turn my eyes to YOU no matter the way, no matter the path you place me on. I want to seek your will at all times and I crave to feel that confidence welling up inside me. Fill the marrow of my bones with the vigor and strength to not only survive each day, but to grow – grow deeper in You. Help me to tap into your strength that you so freely give, if only I stop and pick up that bow. Lord, as hard as it may be, I praise you for my suffering, for You are using it to reveal Your glory. And Your glory is much greater than my pain any day and every day. I pray this in your trustworthy name.
Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory. (Romans 8:17)