Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Present Glory of God

She was on her fifth day of being a widow. This was probably going to be the most difficult because she was just moments away from laying her greatest earthly love to rest. I waited in the long line to try to encourage her as she stood beside her husband’s casket. After only one small sentence of introduction, she turned and placed her hand on his rigid chest and said, “This is a display of God’s grace.” In an instant I knew what she meant. I had already been told that he had become a follower of Jesus late in life. The people in that room knew this man well. They knew he loved to laugh and to work hard. They knew he was kind and caring. But she knew him best. She knew what God needed to change in him. Even more, she knew how God had changed him.

The comment left me almost speechless. Here was a widow, just moments away from the start of a heart wrenching funeral, and now I had no question as to where her mind was. In that instant my mind was changed as well. I was pulled out of that moment and sent spinning to a world that had no funeral homes or cemeteries. Somehow, though, I was seeing a sort of intersection of these two worlds.

Just recently I read a line in a book that said, “The glory of God is the presence of God.” (Ed Welch, Running Scared) Just as the experience at the funeral home had given me a jolt, this sentence had as well. I suppose I had never thought of the glory of God in that way. If this sentence is true, then the glory of God is not stored up only in Heaven. We can experience the glory of God even now because we can see His presence now.

I see the presence of God in the beautiful creation all around me. I think I see it in a thousand places. But this one surprised me. I saw the presence of God in a funeral home at what should have been one of the saddest moments of life for this widow. I saw the presence of God filling her with strength. The glory of God was on display right there in front of me because she was testifying to the very presence of God.

God, help me to live in this reality. Remind me that you are close. Let me be daily swept away by Your glory in the presence of every day life.

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