I have one of those choices today. Its kind like a choice between having a root canal and getting your tooth pulled. Neither choice is going to feel good. God help me hear you well today!
Years ago I had one those defining moments where I got a tiny, yet life changing glimpse of who God really is and who I am in the light of His glory. Over and over I’ve heard many talk about themselves in the light of God’s glory as if that light would diminish their worth. My own experience was way the opposite! We are image bearers. In that capacity we reflect the glory of God so that in the light of His glory we all light up like Christmas trees! It’s amazing!
For many years I lived in expectation of God’s disapproval. I knew I didn’t measure up. How could anyone measure up? But that question is all wrong. I am not here to measure up, only reflect and even then it is more like the reflection in a pond. Its nothing that I do— it’s who I am, God’s masterful work of art, that reflects His glory. The more I am still, the better the reflection. Wow, that’s cool! I’ve never looked at the passage “Be still and know that I am God” quite that way before. I am learning all sorts of reasons why rest is important!
The enemy, our accuser, uses a terrible weapon to reach in and mar our hearts. It’s called shame. It’s what I felt when I walked into a room full of people only to find that my dress was caught in my underwear on the back side. It is what I felt when publicly humiliated because I didn’t play the piano well enough… or was it that I couldn’t read the professors mind? It is what I felt the first day I ever walked into a church by myself—because my life was a mess and I needed someone to rescue me.
My glimpse of God’s glory and my relationship to that glory has changed my relationship to shame. God delights in me! He likes me…and He offers me wisdom, like “here’s how to get there from where you are.” not, “well, if you hadn’t have taken that wrong turn back there you would be here by now” As Romans 8:1 says, there is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. None! It’s really true!
Having said all that I still encounter contempt from people. It hurts, it always hurts. In some ways it feels like the more my timid heart moves towards trusting Jesus, the more contempt hurts. I wish I could understand how to be shielded from that contempt. I’m thinking of the story in the Bible of Stephen who was stoned to death while at the same time preaching to the people. God didn’t shield Stephen from the stones. But He did give him a vision of heaven so powerful and awesome that he didn’t seem to notice the pain of their blows.
Perhaps that’s why God offers us all a glimpse of His glory and a glimpse of His graciousness towards us.