Friday, June 1, 2012

Be Glorified

Luz, Ramona and I met out back yesterday afternoon.  For the past two weeks Luz had not been able to come, so it was great to be all together again!  We picked back up in our study of John, this time in Chapter 14.  There’s so much to learn from Jesus’ words to His disciples in the upper room!

13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
What do these verses mean? I asked them.  That we need to have enough faith and then God will give us the things we need. 

Their answer seems to make sense.  But… if that’s true, how do we explain all the times we don’t get what we ask for?  Working in an impoverished community, we see ‘unanswered’ prayers every day.  Who is at fault?  Is God not paying attention, or do the women just not have enough faith? 
Forgive me if I’m stepping on toes, but I think we all tend to love the first half of verse 13.  Then, we slide past the second half and focus on verse 14. 

But, sitting on the back patio of the Social Work site yesterday afternoon, the Holy Spirit made me focus on the part I tend to ignore:  so that the Father may be glorified 
I think this is the place where many of us, not just in El Callejon, but throughout the world, get confused.  I believe the Bible teaches that God will supply our needs, but we skip His larger purpose for our own. 

Nowhere in the verses above does Jesus say that He is doing what we ask for OUR sakes.  Instead, it is so that the Father may be glorified.    

We are a part of God’s plan and purpose, but it goes so much beyond us.  There is an arrogance to assuming that God exists for us, instead of the other way around.     
I want my life to be all for God and for His glory alone.  That sounds good and pious, but do I really mean it?  Do I mean it when I seem to be asking for good things – for myself, for the women, teens, and girls of El Callejon?    

If this thing, this relationship, this fill-in-the-blank that I desire, that I want, that I truly feel I need, is not going to help me give You glory, withhold it from me.  That’s a scary prayer, because it means surrendering my wants and desires. 
It means choosing to trust that God can and will be glorified in situations and circumstances I cannot understand with my puny, selfish human mind.  It means accepting that while I matter, I am not the end of the story.

There is a liberty here, if only I can grasp it.  It’s an invitation to live with open hands.  I continue to do my part, seeking to be transformed into the image of Jesus, seeking to prayerfully, passionately lift up my needs to Him.  But, with open hands, trusting that if God doesn’t provide something I think I need, it’s because He will be glorified in its absence. 
Living this way is a daily struggle.  It is part of that daily dying to myself, picking up my cross, and following hard after my Savior. 

In Jesus’ name, Father, in His name alone, I ask that You provide for us.  That You provide in ways we cannot imagine, so that Your glory may be known on earth through our lives.  Take from me all things that keep me from glorifying You.  Bring me all things that increase Your glory in my life. 
Give me courage to pray this each day.  I ask all of this in Your Son’s name, and through the power of Your Holy Spirit, Amen.

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