For His Glory

As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi,who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.
- John 9:1-3

But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
- John 11:4

I have been reading in John recently and came across these two passages just one day apart. In the first, Jesus’ disciples see a blind man and assume that his blindness is a punishment. They ask the Lord if his blindness was meant to punish his parents for their sins or to punish the man for his own sins. Jesus replies that the man’s blindness is not a punishment at all. The man was blind so that God would receive the glory when Jesus healed him. Imagine that, a man lived without being able to see for years so that he would one day have a part in bringing glory to God!

Just two chapters later we read the story of Lazarus’ death and Christ’s reaction to it. Naturally the family and friends of Lazarus were very sad and Jesus was sad too. But His response again is that this terrible event was designed so that God would be glorified through it. And as Jesus’ raised Lazarus from the dead, God was indeed glorified.

It is so easy to wonder why bad things happen in our lives. Why did my family member get cancer? Why did my friend pass away? Why did I lose my job? Did I do something wrong? I must deserve this somehow. But do we ever stop to think that perhaps God wants us to bring Him glory through our trials? Could we possibly even consider it a blessing to endure suffering that will lead to God’s glory?

When our focus is on our own hurt we lose sight of the bigger picture. When we become bitter and angry we are ignoring the plan that God has for our lives. What He wants us to do in the hard times is to use them to point to Him. God may be allowing this circumstance in your life so that you can reach out to others and make a difference in their lives. It’s easy to bless others when you have everything. The rich man who is lacking nothing can easily be generous without making a sacrifice. The strong and healthy woman can serve others with no trouble. The blessings we receive from these people do not speak as loudly as the blessings we receive from those who are in need themselves. When a friend less fortunate than I am saves her money to buy me a small gift it is far more meaningful to me than any gift I could give to her. When someone in poor health makes the extra effort to minister to my needs in some way it touches my heart far more than anything I could do for another person. When a sweet friend who is going through her own struggle with infertility or pregnancy loss takes the time to listen to me and encourage me on my own journey, I am truly blessed. These kinds of kind acts point toward the Lord. They are a way to shout, “I trust my God in every circumstance and I want to be used by Him!” But the man who pouts and cries and becomes bitter toward God for allowing a difficult circumstance to occur is not only robbing himself of the blessings God has for him; he is also robbing others of the blessings they could receive from him as he trusts the Lord.

What are you going through this week that you are angry about? What have you kept to yourself and not trusted God with? Are you able to minister to others when your life is easy but not when it is hard? Or are you willing to point to God with every part of your life? Let’s look for opportunities to point to Him this week - in all of our circumstances, both good and bad.

Lord, let me be a light in this dark world. Let me point others to You in everything I do. Help me not to respond to my circumstances selfishly but to look for the opportunities each day to glorify You. I want to praise you on the stormy days as well as the beautiful. Help me to live my life for YOUR glory.

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