We are almost at the end of another week of reading and it has been another week packed full of stories from Genesis. We talked during our reading group about the continuing journey of Abraham and focused a good deal about Jacob/Israel.
One thing that struck me that connects Genesis and John was the hard truth Jesus speaks about how many events in life are there to bring glory to God. What makes this hard is that these events may not be what we find enjoyable.
Jesus heals a blind man in John 9, and people wondered who sinned to bring about this man’s blindness. Jesus’ response is that he did not sin, nor his parents, rather he was born blind so that the works of God might be displayed in him. Surely this man rejoiced at being healed by Jesus, but it must be difficult to look back on years of blindness that were in service of bringing glory to God.
Jesus’ friend Lazarus is sick and his sisters urge Jesus to come quickly to help. Jesus does not hurry and instead stays two additional days before setting out. He says to his disciples, “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.” The illness does lead to death, but that death is not final as Lazarus is raised from the dead. Again a seemingly tragic event turned around to bring glory to God.
Back in Genesis, Abraham is tested by God as God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac. It is a devastating task set before Abraham. But as he is faithful and obedient to God, Abraham learns more clearly just how perfect God’s provision is and God receives glory in providing a ram.
Difficult conditions and tests of life are still difficult for us, even if they do ultimately give glory to God. But this is one of the hard truths of faith that we are always trying to better accept and understand. We are not our own and our lives are to be like living sacrifices, pleasing to God (Rom 12).
It helps me to remember that what God doesn’t require from Abraham, God has done himself. God has given us his only Son. God has endured the greatest sacrifice for our sake. Therefore if my life can in some way bring glory to the one who has brought life for me, I hope and pray that I can do so joyfully.