Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Different Take on "God's Glory"? -- Katie Fansler

I had the opportunity to go to the Bebo Norman / Mercy Me concert last Friday night. It was a fun night with friends and good music. While there are many good things to talk about that I enjoyed concerning the concert, for this blog I’d like to zero in on one thing: Mercy Me’s take on God’s glory. I found myself a bit disturbed and wondered if I was the only one. It may be that I got the wrong impression, but an impression I did indeed get!

Did anyone else think that he was implying that God received glory from tragic and grievous things that happen to us, i.e. cancer, to use his example, so we shouldn’t fight it or feel too bad about it? He made the comment that God has approved everything that happens to us, before it happens. This reminded me of a business manager putting his signature on all expenditures – giving his approval to what happened in the office. This implies that God was somehow involved with those hurtful things in our life – so that we should just accept everything bad as God’s will, knowing that He will “get the glory” from it somehow. (They didn’t explain how that would happen.)

While many things said at the concert were uplifting and helpful, this one thing hit me wrong. I felt sick to think that there were people in the audience suffering with a new diagnosis of cancer or had just lost a loved one, or were in some other crisis, who would think God wanted this to happen to them and that somehow God was getting glory from their suffering.

This is what I think about God “getting the glory.” First of all: all good gifts are from the Father. He created this world to be perfect. God wanted us to have free will, to love him without being forced to or programmed to love. We always have a choice to love or hate; to serve God or serve ourselves. Humans, not God, brought sin into the world. By choosing self-reliance, thinking that they knew better than God how to live and demanding control, Adam and Eve introduced to our world the things of death: disease, decay and aging, fear, violence/war, addictions. Because of Jesus, we have a way out of the death spiral of the bondage of self-centered lifestyle. No longer a slave to the control freak we were, we can choose to trust in the Holy Spirit to guide, fill, direct, comfort, and be with us. And, God promises that as we hand over control to the Holy Spirit, he transforms us from the inside; we become more and more like Jesus.

When we collide with tragedy, we know that God is present with us to help us through it. God “gets glory,” because we trust him; we let him comfort us and understand that he did not bring this about; rather, it is the ripple affect of sin in our world. We are promised his help – directly by the peace of Christ that we can feel inside, and indirectly through brothers and sisters in the body of Christ. God “gets glory” when people with transformed hearts reach out with his love and comfort, showing mercy and forgiveness, when we are peacemakers – in other words, when we demonstrate God to a world that is desperate for God. Let’s give God glory by allowing him to live through us, impacting our world for His Kingdom!

--Katie Fansler