Displaying Glory

Journal Entry// April 21, 2021

Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.

John 9:3 ESV

We always want to know and understand the deeper meaning to our present situation, especially when God has placed us in difficult situations lined with trials, adversity, pain, suffering, lowliness, and weakness. It goes against our desires to be placed in a state of humility. When these situations arise, we naturally assume that something is wrong. This must be a punishment or a response from the Lord to sin in our heart or lack of faith and understanding within us.

Even if we come to understand that the purposes of the Lord don’t always give reasons and answers for our present or past difficult situations, we then tend to rush through the trial or adversity and want to get to the “good life”. We find it challenging to see that this adversity and struggle is the “good life” that God has allotted for us. This difficulty is a display for the work of God.

When I think about this phrase, I tend to picture in my mind the outside windows of a large department store in London. Every Christmas this store creates a story using the items that are for sale within the store. The windows’ story draws thousands of people every year to come and see the story on display. This is how I envision what Jesus is telling us here.

I have a role to play in the grand display of God’s glory being revealed to the world. And just like the items on display at the department store window, I don’t get to choose how I am displayed. I may be the center of attention arrayed in perfect beauty to be admired by those who view my life or I may be in a lowly spot that is humble and meager in the grand scheme of the display.

But even this is a false narrative with usefulness being a construct of how we perceive what God is accomplishing. We are finite and limited beings that view the grand design of God’s purposes for eternity in this sliver of time called today. We judge eternal purposes based on what is happening at this moment. Worse than that, we determine God’s eternal purposes by what is happening “to me” today. Worse than that, we have an expectation that in this small moment of eternity that the Lord will “bless me” if I am obedient and faithful.

The problem isn’t only that we make this blessing centered on our obedience and require God to be in a state of gratitude and give gifts to us as if he is Santa rewarding good little children on Christmas morning. No, we also have a false assumption about what a blessing truly looks like. In our eyes, a blessing is positive in its application to “my” life. But in reality the blessing is positive in that it accomplishes the display of the glory of God in the world around us.

I need this realignment of my mind to see God’s wonderful hand working in my life. Whether it be peace and comfort or trials and adversity. I need to see the blessing of God in my life as he does two wonderful things:
1. His Spirit is dwelling within me.
2. He has rescued and redeemed me. Adopted me as a son.

These are the blessings. These are all I need in this world. My life is a canvas for the One True Artist. He is painting a perfect picture in my life. A picture that reveals the work of God transforming this wicked sinful man into a one prepared and ready for eternal life with his Father in heaven.

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