Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Show Me Your Glory

Yesterday at my home church (Agape Gospel Assembly) in Seremban, Malaysia, one of the songs we sang during worship is "Show Me Your Glory" by Kim Walker Smith, Jesus Culture, inspired (as deduced from the lyrics) by Moses' request to God to show him His Glory (Exodus 33:18).


First part of the song goes:

I see the cloud, I step in.

I want to see Your glory as Moses did.

Flashes of light and rolls of thunder,

I'm not afraid

I'm not afraid

Show me Your glory, show me Your glory

Show me Your glory, show me Your glory

At the chorus, as we sang the words "Show me Your glory", I found myself struggling to understand what they actually mean. What is the Glory of God? How is it shown to mankind? How do these words apply to my life? At nearly the end of worship, Pastor Benjamin came up and briefly addressed the same question I was asking. He related the Glory of God to Jesus' first recorded miracle of turning water into wine, which marked the beginning of all the miracles Jesus performed while on Earth. The miracle of water turned into wine, as explained by Pastor Benjamin is an example of the Glory of God displayed, of God's power to do things beyond our wildest imagination. This got me thinking. What sort of things are beyond my wildest imagination? Well, however wild and incredible the things I can imagine, it has got to be beyond that!

I guess this naturally led me to reflect upon the greatest work that Jesus had done while on Earth compared to all the other miracles He performed. The unconditional love God has for us that led Him to leave His throne in Heaven, to become man in the form of Jesus, to die on the cross for our sins, through grace fullfiling both mercy and justice, thus in doing so gave mankind hope and assurance of life with Him for eternity. Yes, I thought, this must be what the Glory of God means, at least a huge part of it. And it happened to be something beyond my wildest imagination! Who would have ever thought or expected or imagined that God, in his glorious majesty and power, would come down to Earth as a mere man, born through virgin birth to a poor family, without any significance in society etc, almost everything against what mankind sees in the world as power and wealth, to be the Messiah, the long awaited saviour? In fact, I would personally imagine that Jesus is not as good looking a man as depicted in many of the classical paintings we see. So that when significant people during Jesus' time hear and see Jesus teach, they would dismiss him without second thought just by looking at Jesus' outward appearance. All of this is amazing truth, an awesome display of the Glory of our God. Yet, the words "Show Me Your Glory" seem to mean so much more.

All of us have our own testimonies, of how God saw us through in our lives. A difficult truth to acknowledge, at least for me sometimes, is that all testimonies must be preceeded by a test, as shared by Pastor Phillip Deas, the speaker yesterday. As difficult as it is to go through life with all its storms bellowing, most of the truths of God's character and promises are only strongly rooted in my heart after a certain test, trial, or crisis, both big and small. It is something like knowing for sure, without a hint of doubt, that an orange is sweet/sour/bland only after tasting it for ourselves. God uses our crisis to reveal His glory. I always believe we have a choice in every crisis, to either trust and depend on Him or trust and depend on our own strength and worldly resources. And when we decide to do the former, with humble hearts acknowledging our weakness and His strength, our spiritual eyes open and we begin to see things from His perspective, we begin to see His glory, we begin to truly see God. In John 11 (the death of Lazarus), the same passage of scripture used by Pastor Phillip in his sermon (which was somewhat quite related to this post. Summary: In our Mess, God has a Message, that reveal to us our Mission), Jesus said to Martha after He asked the tomb stone to be removed, "Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?" (John 11:40). Mary and Martha and their fellow villagers were having a crisis with the death of Lazarus, and through this crisis, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead thus displayed His glory.

I guess the questions I asked about "Show Me Your Glory" all come down to our personal encounters with God, not so much on the supernatural display of power or those along that line, but those of revelations that convict the heart, so powerfully that it transforms lives. And like it or not these encounters occur during our trials, storms of life, crisis, etc when we humble ourselves and put our trust in Him. "No pain, no gain". That is why sometimes I find it difficult to sing this song, or pray the prayer "Show Me Your Glory", because I am afraid of all the upcoming storms/crisis in life that I will inevitably face. It is easy to say "surrender all, and put your trust in the LORD" when everything is smooth sailing, but when the storm hits, will I be the first to run away and hide? But having been shown God's glory many times before throughout my life in times of crisis, I learned to put my trust in God, to be faithful (as Pastor Lawrence Khoo mentioned a few weeks ago), pressing/struggling on knowing that God is good, that He is faithful, that His promises are Yes and Amen.

With this in mind, I absolutely love it when the song goes:

I'm not afraid (of my problems, my mess, my pain, etc...)

I'm not afarid (of my trials and tribulations, my crisis, my difficulties, etc...)

Show me Your glory, show me Your glory

Show me Your glory, show me Your glory

What a wonderful song!

Here is a sermon I found online from which I gathered most of my thoughts (perhaps it presents them much more eloquently!).




Anonymous said...

what happens if they are just coincidences? what happens if there were no such miracles as turning the water into wine? what happens if the "glory of God" is simply what men think of to help ease their pain of realizing there's no God?

I am a Christian, or may be I cannot be considered one after asking questions above, but there were many times, listening how different people interpreting the scriptures differently using their own logic makes me wonder if all these, everything Christianity, are simply man-made.

Relying on Jesus and therefore opening up of your spiritual eyes does not a problem solve, it is how one thinks that it is solved (or even the existence of the problem) just because he does that.

There isn't a religion that is bad, and religion is almost certain to exist even if God doesn't exist. Religion has helped so many people recover from their sorrows / depression / sicknesses etc. because religion is a state of mind acting as a cushion for those who believe.The fact that there's different religion in every corner of the world means human need mental / spiritual comfort.

In another way, it's very probable that Christianity is just another religion that human wants to believe in because of the problems they face.

I choose to believe that Jesus once walked on this earth as a son of God, because I, too, need the strength and support spiritually to help me keep my mind healthy, but that doesn't mean I restrict myself in the ways of the christians just because they interpreted it that way 2000 years ago.

well written article, but if I were you, I wouldn't be waiting for the glory of God to show up, because people with religion sees everything good as His glory and blames only himself when something bad happens, and the glory may never even come if one never choose to think an outcome being a favourable one; vice versa, everything can be the glory of God if he desires to think so.


Anonymous said...



just for laugh

cal said...

Hi Anonymous,

Thanks for your views, and I appreciate it. I won't try to debate these matters with you, firstly because i'm a very poor debater and my choice for words are limited and sometimes inaccurate (which usually allow the opposite side to poke holes everywhere! lol...), secondly I would much prefer just to share with you a little bit on what it means to me to be a Christian.

From your reply, I noticed that you are looking objectively, as a 3rd person if you like, on the idea of religion and the role it plays for humanity. And I applaud you for that because if I were to look at things objectively as you did, without any emotional or spiritual attachment, I will definitely come to same conclusions as you. This I know because I did thought about this a few times in my own room of thought, asking myself questions of 'what ifs'.

Then you might ask why I don't follow up on those conclusions you and I have made? Why stick so strongly to Christianity, instead of seeing the 'big picture' of 'religion and its importance/benefits to mankind'? Well, the thing is I simply cannot ignore the very part of me that has experienced the unconditional love of God through Christ Jesus and His faithfulness to me. I know this reason may sound void in reason and unsatisfactory for understanding. But as I mentioned in my post, my experience with God is one that "convicts the heart, so powerfully that it transforms lives". Being a Christian is not believing in a religion. Christianity is not a religion, but a relationship with God. Relationship meaning that I know God like I know a person, not as one who reads about Him in a paper or a book, but one who knows Him as one knows his parents, spouse, closest friends, children etc, and vice versa (if you are a Christian as you mentioned, you may already have heard this many times from fellow Christians...I hope). Therefore this separates what being a Christian is to what being a follower of religions is.

My testimony is only good for me, because it is my personal encouter with God. My testimony keeps me going in my faith in Christ. Faith in the sense that I believe not because I want to "keep my mind healthy" or "recover from sorrows/depression/sicknesses etc.", it is so much more than that. It comes to a point that it is not about me or my life anymore but about God. My life in itself is already secure, it is all done when Jesus died on the cross. Eternal life does not begin when I die physically, it has already begun from the day I put my faith in Christ. This brings what many Christians call the Joy of the LORD, that is our Strength, in times of turmoil.

I don't expect you to understand all of this because my testimony is only good for me. On the other hand, your testimony, your personal encounter with God, will be good only for you.

I admit I'm not one who knows the Bible in and out, who can engage well in debates of what is fact and not, to proof this and disproof that etc. What I do have is my testimony, and as good as it is to have abundance of knowledge in the mind, it is better still to know God down in the heart.

mfwrachel said...

Calvin, your testimony could encourage others as well as trigger others to think. Don't underestimate yourself. Keep up the good work! :)