Give God Glory in the Sunshine and the Perma-Cloud
Like many young married couples, my husband and I were overjoyed when we found out we were expecting a baby. I was particularly grateful that the baby’s due date was March 28. I had always dreaded March. That final, seemingly endless month of winter with nothing but perma-gray skies where we live in Michigan. New life coming at the end of that long season of cold and gray was thrilling to me.
The arrival of that baby (now almost fourteen!) was also particularly joyful because my husband and I had gone through a couple years of perma-gray circumstances. We walked through a serious health challenge as I had a benign brain tumor removed.
Then a year after that surgery, once I had regained health and strength, I was “cleared” to start trying to get pregnant. We were ecstatic when we learned our first baby was on the way just a few weeks later, but then crushed when we lost that child a couple months into my pregnancy. So a few months later when we found out we were expecting that “March baby,” our joy was particularly deep. It was easy to give God glory.
Glory in the Perma-Gray
I can honestly say, though, that we did not only give God glory in those joyful times. We learned to glorify Him in the perma-gray, too. We praised God for giving us purpose throughout difficult, scary days. We gave Him the glory for the perseverance and sustaining power He provided through the sad, draining days. We found that God is worthy of glory anytime because of who He is, not what we were experiencing.
David is a powerful example in the Bible of someone who pursued God’s glory in the midst of relentlessly difficult circumstances. While being constantly pursued by Saul—a man who desperately wanted to kill him—David still chose to glorify God. He passes up a clear opportunity to kill Saul himself and end the strife. Why? Because God’s glory was at stake. David describes this as he speaks to Saul after the incident:
“This day your eyes have seen how the LORD gave you today into my hand in the cave. And some told me to kill you, but I spared you. I said, ‘I will not put out my hand against my lord, for he is the LORD’s anointed’” (1 Samuel 24:10).
No Matter the Circumstances
Here in the midst of another perma-gray season of the year, I want to focus on glorifying God like David did. To fix my eyes on His purposes and ways no matter my circumstances. Sometimes a new year can help that sort of goal. It can bring some refreshment and light in the midst of the bleak weather days. New goals. New resolutions. But sometimes a new year just compounds the impact of the gray.
A friend and I discussed this a few weeks ago. The beginning of this year was really more of a reminder of old stuff we’re still walking through. Many of last year’s goals and resolutions are the same things we’re seeking to get answers for or change this year. I think we were both tempted to just kind of wallow in those steely realities for a moment. But instead, we reminded each other of steps that we’d taken and small but sure answers that had come and praised God for those. We’re living out the realities of what Paul urges us to do in Ephesians 4:1–3:
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Paul was a prisoner. His circumstances were bleak. Yet his focus remained on glorifying God and challenging others to do the same. Not in big-accomplishment ways. But, just like my friend and me, in everyday, step-by-step ways through attitude and actions that come together to bring God glory. Individuals bringing God glory through obedience. Friends and families bringing God glory through their love and mercy for one another.
Because He’s Worthy
I know I need to choose to glorify God, to continue to do what the angels did who announced Jesus’ birth to the shepherds: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14).
Glorifying God is not reserved for certain seasons or circumstances. While those angels certainly had the most significant, world-changing news ever to declare—the birth of the Savior—God was worthy of glory not just because of that news. God is always worthy of glory because of who He is. He is the infinite, omnipotent, holy, all-sufficient, merciful, sovereign, loving, grace-giving, way- making Creator of all!
So no matter the season or circumstance, we can choose to give Him glory. We can give God the glory that He alone is worthy to receive and declare His glory just as the angels did.
So will I? Will you? When difficulties come, when tedious days seem to hang like a weight around your neck, when circumstances are good, when there is health, when there is sickness, when there is pain, when there is joy—will you choose to glorify God?
“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power” (Revelation 4:11).
By Heidi Jo Fulk