One of the benefits of teaching at a boarding school is that I get to walk to and from work. It’s about a 12-minute walk from our house to the arts building where I teach, much of it along a rolling field with views of the Connecticut River Valley. I find this transition time between home and work is often one of the most peaceful times of the day, at least when I remember to look up at the natural beauty around me and consider the Creator whose praise it speaks.
On a particular day a few weeks ago as I made the trek, a prayer spontaneously erupted from my heart with no precursor or identifiable reason: “Lord, glorify yourself.” I was a bit surprised by it, and felt pretty sure it was sent by the Holy Spirit. I was stunned at the immediate impact that simple prayer had on my heart. “Lord, glorify yourself.” I felt peaceful, reassured, and completely aware that God’s glory is His business and He has it well in hand.
Sometimes I think we feel so burdened by the state of the world, that we shoulder a responsibility that is more His than ours: His glory. God, the Creator, the all-powerful, loving and redeeming Savior of our race, is owed every ounce of glory, fame, and credit that exists. Yet He seems to be denied that in much of the rebellious, broken, and corrupt realm of humanity. We feel that injustice keenly, and are filled with righteous indignation–righteous, exhausting indignation–that this be set right. The earth should be full of the knowledge of the glory of God, as the waters cover the sea! That is how it is meant to be!
With a world in turmoil, and evil increasingly taunting God, we want to fix it, to stanch the flood of evil, to turn the tide and see God glorified. We carry that burden, and are sometimes overwhelmed by it. But His glory is His business, and He has it well in hand.
He certainly invites us to be participators who add to His glory…sometimes. But He is the one doing it, really. To glorify God isn’t to introduce something from ourselves that we bestow on Him; it’s simply reflective. God’s glory is His own. It starts and ends with Him. We sometimes are wires in the circuit through which His action passes, but most often, we’re just on the sidelines cheering Him on. As were the Israelites by the Red Sea when Moses told them to “stand still and see the salvation of the LORD” (Exodus 14:13).
“Lord, glorify yourself.” The work is His. We ask Him to do it, we express our willingness to be a part of it, and then we rest and wait, in faith that in His time, through His work, “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD,” just as thoroughly as water covers the ocean (Habakkuk 2:14). You’ve seen that, right? Endless, churning, writhing water, as far as the eye can see? That’s how thoroughly humanity will be enveloped by God’s glory.
Let me remind you that according to accounts from the Bible and history, God gets the most glory when the situation is the bleakest. The best stories of His deliverance are when the odds were stacked, as they seem to be now. This Sabbath, I invite you to pray for God to glorify Himself. And rest, assured that His glory is His business, and He has it well in hand.
Resting with you.