I prayed that God would show me his glory. I prayed and prayed for both an intellectual and experiential understanding of glory. “Show me!” I cried.
He did. He showed me a child, a child born to parents who were told they could not conceive a child. Shortly after that I read an explanation of God’s glory. It is however he chooses to express himself (I believe it was Paul Manwaring who wrote this.)
I wonder sometimes if God is setting us up when we continuously look for the grand and he responds with the simple. He has done it over and over again. Through his prophets he said, “Expect something really, really big. Your Anointed One is coming!”
What could fit our image of a mighty delivering King less than a helpless newborn baby? The book of John explains to us in the first chapter who he was.
So the word of God became a human being and lived among us. We saw his splendour (the splendour as of a father’s only son), full of grace and truth. (John 1:14 Phillips)
This baby was The Word, the Voice that spoke all into being.
But not everyone recognized this marvelous gift to the world, even when he grew up and told them.
That was the true light which shines upon every man as he comes into the world. He came into the world—the world he had created—and the world failed to recognise him. He came into his own creation, and his own people would not accept him. (John 1:9,10)
Mary caught a glimpse of the Kingdom and the way God works when she exalted him with her prophetic song of praise which said, in part:
He has shown the strength of his arm, he has swept away the high and mighty. He has set kings down from their thrones and lifted up the humble. He has satisfied the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away with empty hands. (Luke 1:51-53)
God’s ways have often been to do the unexpected, to choose to work through the humble, the broken, the underdog, the less-than-mighty. Jesus himself danced with joy when he saw how his Father chose to express his glory through the seventy ordinary folk Jesus ordained to go ahead of him, healing the sick and casting out demons.
At that moment Jesus himself was inspired with joy, and exclaimed, “O Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, I thank you for hiding these things from the clever and the intelligent and for showing them to mere children! Yes, I thank you, Father, that this was your will.” Luke 10:21-22
I read a prophecy the other day which said, essentially, “Expect great things in the coming year. Prepare to be surprised!” My tendency (after overcoming some skepticism) is to say whoo-hoo and prepare to look for the grand, the spectacular, the really big show. The surprise could be a a mass choir of shining angels, but I need to remember it could just as easily be a scruffy child with a lunch of buns and fish – or a baby born to a couple who were told they could not have a baby.
I don’t know what the Lord’s provisions for us in the coming year will look like. This I do know, they will be full of grace and truth, because that’s who he is.
And, if we pay attention and stay humble, we will see his glory. Expect the unexpected.
But Jesus, knowing what they were arguing about, took a little child and made him stand by his side. And then he said to them, “Anyone who accepts a little child in my name is really accepting me, and the man who accepts me is really accepting the one who sent me. It is the humblest among you all who is really the greatest.” Luke 9:46-48
May we become like little children. May we never lose our wonder.