Deliver me?………or………Glorify Yourself!
One morning I was sitting across from Ray in a local restaurant. As we discussed various issues in our community and ministry we came to the subject of the trials that are common to all of us. Ray then asked the question “What is our response to trial? Is it deliver me? Or is it Glorify Yourself? He then related the passage of scripture in John 12:27-28. “Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour?’ No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!”
There are many situations in life where our hearts are troubled. It may be in facing the reality of a trial in the future or in the trial itself. It may be due to the failure or impending failure of a relationship, lack of employment, or job uncertainty. It may arise from severe health issues, financial burdens and even the seemingly overwhelming demands on our time. What is our first response to these trials? Is it deliver me? Or is it Glorify Yourself?
Jesus recognized that the trial He was facing was from the Father, and that all aspects of the trial were under the Father’s control. He knew, furthermore, that the trial had a purpose. That purpose was for the Father’s Glory. He says in John 17:4 “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.” In Isaiah 43:7 we read that we were created for the Father’s glory. All His work in and through us, including our trials and troubles are for this purpose. And how is He glorified in these trials? We read in John 15:8 the following. “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” (KJV) The Lord leads us into situations in life where there are opportunities for His Spirit to transform the lives of others. We read about this in II Corinthians 4:11. “For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus‘ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body.” This is the activity of His Spirit. The attitude of our spirit in agreement with this is found in the preceding verse, II Corinthians 4:10. “ We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” This attitude does not primarily declare “Deliver me,” but rather declares “Glorify Yourself!”
It was my opportunity to see God glorified in the life of a friend and his family within the last year. Despite an overwhelming infection with severe pain, his attitude was one of total dependence upon the Lord. He and his family used every opportunity to visit with nurses, doctors, as well as with other patients. The resultant disability led them to a Rehabilitation Hospital, where they continued to minister to all who came to see them. It was my privilege to be ministered to by them on numerous occasions. Their testimony of God’s continued Grace in their lives had an impact on many. Ultimately, after a number of months, the Lord did provide deliverance from the infection and its complications. Psalm 50:15 (KJV) states. “And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.” Their remembrance of this prolonged course of illness was not centered, however, on the pain and disability. It was focused on the lives that the Lord had touched during those months. The Lord had been glorified through their trust in Him.
I also recall a young man whom I initially met as a patient and who later became a friend. He was paralyzed from the neck down while serving as a youth counselor. His dreams and aspirations of being a pastor and full time Christian worker were shattered. As he shared the story with me, he related that a few days following the accident he was told that he would never be able to walk again, or be able to have any feeling below the upper chest area. He would have limited shoulder motion but no ability to use his hands. Throughout those early days there had been hope and prayer for deliverance from the result of the injury. But as the news sunk in that night he said that he asked the Lord, “How is it possible to serve you when I am like this for the rest of my life?” “What do I do now?” He then related that the Lord immediately reminded him of three verses in I Thessalonians which are as follows. “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (I Thessalonians 5:16-18 KJV) As he told me this story, I thought to myself “Wow, that is a tall order!” But as he explained his life since that time, he told how the Lord had patiently, and lovingly given him opportunities daily to rejoice, to pray, and to give thanks. God was being glorified in his life. He later became a Christian counselor and served the Lord for many years. His life was a living testimony that glorifying the Lord was not dependent upon his own deliverance.
Our oldest daughter was diagnosed last year with an aggressive malignancy requiring extensive surgery and a prolonged course of chemotherapy every three weeks. Shortly before the last chemotherapy treatment she sat down near us and said that there were so many needs to pray for regarding herself, her family and her future that she did not know where to begin. She then stated that she had determined to pray “that God would be glorified in this,” “I can’t go wrong there!”
We will all come to situations in our lives that are distressful, painful, trying, or troubling to us. It is not wrong to pray that God would deliver us. Indeed, He expects us to look to Him for deliverance from any trial or trouble we face. But is that all we pray for? Are we able to look beyond the temporal to that which is unseen where God is working in our lives and the lives of others to Glorify Himself? By His Grace, may He help us to also pray “Glorify Yourself!” as we face the trials and troubles of this life.
In Christ, Richard Spann