His Glory And My Good
Perspective. Sometimes I think we just need to back up a step or two in order to see the bigger picture. It’s something I certainly need to do. I tend to get too close. I tend to get too singular, too self-centered in my approach to life. I don’t know about you but I tend to forget that God has a larger plan and purpose than just me. I might be 44 years old but I still struggle with that childish thinking that mistakenly believes the entire universe revolves around me. I am a part of the world. But I am not the world. God cares about me. God does indeed love me. But He also loves the other 6.9 billion people who call this planet their home. Yes, He has plans for me. But in the end, those plans are a part of His larger plan for humanity as a whole. Speaking for myself, that truth is something which I need to remember.
Need an example? Remember Joseph? Favored by his father. Betrayed by his brothers. Sold into slavery. Falsely accused of rape. Imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. Yeah, that Joseph. Eventually God liberates Joseph from his Egyptian dungeon and positions him as the second most powerful man in the world. It’s the ultimate story of redemption. But so often we make Joseph’s personal experiences the emphasis of that story. But in Genesis 50 Joseph redirects us to God’s true purpose with regard to the events that had befallen this faithful man. Speaking to the brothers who had sold him into slavery, Joseph declares, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” Joseph understood that God had a much greater purpose in mind than Joseph’s personal deliverance and restoration. In His providence God knew famine was coming to the world. And in His compassion He set things in motion that guaranteed the survival of the entire world (cf. Psalm 105:16ff).
In Psalm 46 God reminds us all that the time is coming when He will be exalted. All those who oppose Him will eventually bow before Him. The same tongues that curse His name will one day declare that He is Lord. Trouble might presently flood the landscape but His glory will fill eternity. Trials, testing and temptations are powerless to stop that day from arriving. Present pain and problems will not change this promised outcome. It is going to happen. As sure as the sun rises in the east. Our God will be exalted.
Personally, I like the manner in which God directs our focus. He will be exalted among the nations. He will be exalted in the earth. Look back at the beginning of Psalm 46. What is the source of all the trouble? The earth is in a state of confusion and chaos. Mountains are shaking. Oceans are roaring. But in spite of all this turmoil God declares that the final word will be His. He will be exalted in the earth. Now, look at verses 6-10. This time the trouble is the nations. They have placed themselves in opposition to God. But God declares His sovereignty. Their every weapon and plan is broken. They seek to terrorize God’s people but their threats fall to the ground unfulfilled. Once again the last word belongs to God. He will be exalted among the nations.
What exactly does this mean for you and I? Just this. All things are subject to His plans and purposes. Ephesians 5:11 says it this way, “…according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will.” The earth? It’s subject to His counsel. The nations? Subject to His counsel. Trouble? Trials? Temptation? All subject to His counsel. The worst that life has to offer is powerless to undo His promises and His purposes. No matter what may happen He will be exalted. His glory will fill eternity.
The encouraging thing for me is that I am a part of His greater purposes. The same plans that apply to the earth are also applicable to me. No matter what may happen in my life He will be exalted. My recent prolonged bout with prostatitis? It’s subject to His counsel. My son’s autism? Subject to His counsel. My wife’s recent cancer diagnosis? Subject to His counsel. The adversities and difficulties that plague our personal lives? The daily wrestling with sin? All subject to His counsel. My life will not be the one exception. Troubles may come in all their fury. But He is causing all things to work together for the good. And more importantly, no matter the situation, no matter how desperate the need He will be glorified. In my life God will have the final word. He will be exalted.