So we fix our eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:18
Friend to Friend
As you live and move and have your being in Christ, at some point, difficult days will come. We live in a fallen world, and suffering is simply a part of it. Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble,” (John 16:33). It’s a sure thing.
When we experience shattered dreams, broken relationships, tragic losses, or unfulfilled longings, it can be difficult to feel God’s presence, to see His hand, and to hear His voice. Glory moments cease when we close our eyes in pain and tune God out in anger. That doesn’t mean that God is not there. It only means that the sadness in our own hearts has drawn the shades and locked the doors. We question whether we even want to live in union with God if this is where the path leads. We tend to wriggle out of His arms like an angry child or slip out of His embrace like a disgruntled lover, all the while hoping He will pull us back in and tell us that we have simply misunderstood.
Men and women throughout the Bible voiced their disappointment when God didn’t act as they had hoped. David cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning?” (Psalm 22:1). Habakkuk cried out: “How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen?” (Habakkuk1:2). Even Jesus, when he hung on that cruel Roman cross, did not call out the comforting words of the 23rd Psalm, but the agonizing words of the 22nd.
Philip Yancey, in his book, Disappointment with God says, “The words of the prophets sound like the words of a lovers’ quarrel drifting through thin apartment walls.” I’ve read the words. I’ve heard the words. I’ve said the words.
And while we complain of God’s silence or seeming indifference during difficult times, He is always there working behind the scenes in ways we may never understand.
In the Bible, we catch glimpses of God’s veiled activity among men. Daniel prayed for three weeks while God appeared to be silent. Finally an angel showed up and explained his delay—a demon, the prince of the Persian kingdom, fought with him and held him back for 21 days (Daniel 10).
In another incident, the prophet Elisha and his servant were surrounded by Aramean enemies. Elisha’s servant was terrified and thought they were surely doomed. Elisha very calmly reassured him: “Don’t be afraid. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then he asked God to lift the curtain of the spiritual realm and reveal the truth of the situation. “Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (2 Kings 6:15-17). Talk about sudden glory!
Three months after the loss of my second child, I broke my silence with God and prayed a prayer similar to Elisha’s. “Oh God, please open my eyes to see Your glory in this situation. If I could just see her. Please Lord, give me a glimpse.”
And then God pulled back the curtain in my mind and I envisioned this child, healthy and whole and playing at the feet of Jesus. She was surrounded by God’s glory face-to-face. Radiant resplendent glory. Not an ounce of glory ache to be seen.
Glory moments do not require a physical vision, but a spiritual revelation—an understanding of a greater reality than this physical world in which we live. The unseen world is very real, and while we may not see God’s activity with our physical eyes, we can be assured of His provision and protection in ways we may never understand. When He said, “I will never leave you or forsake you,” (Hebrews 13:5). He meant it.
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen (our circumstances), but on what is unseen (God’s presence). For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18, parentheses mine). One day, it will all make sense. Until then…we trust. And when we have the faith to keep our eyes open during the dark times, God will scatter moments of sudden glory like stars in the inky sky. We hold fast and continue practicing Acts 17:28—even when we aren’t sure where that may lead.
Lord, sometimes I just don’t get it, but that’s OK. I don’t have to “get it.” I don’t have to understand. But I trust You. I know Your ways are higher than my ways. So I unfurl my fingers and release the tight grip I have on my circumstances. I give them to You. I am looking for moments of sudden glory…Your presence…in the confusing circumstances of my life.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Ready for a little finger exercise today? Here’s what I want you to do:
- Ball up your fist and think of a worry or concern you’re holding onto.
- Give it a name.
- Unfurl your fingers, open up your hand, and lift it to God saying, “I give this to You.
- Repeat. Repeat.
I think that’s an exercise we ought to do often.
Did you do it? Click over to my Facebook page, and let me know how many times you repeated this finger exercise today.
More from the Girlfriends
Sometimes it is hard to let go, isn’t it? Truly, it is a matter of trust. Gwen, Mary and I have written a wonderful book titled Trusting God. It’s a 12-week devotional book dedicated to this one single topic. If you enjoy our devotions, you will LOVE our book, Trusting God. We even have free on-line videos to go with each of the 12 weeks. So gather some girlfriends and learn about how to trust God together.