The Best is Yet to Come . . .

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When I agreed to write a 2020 December devotional around this time last year, I assumed I’d be writing about the Incarnation, the holy God of the universe condescending to His creation, putting all His might and majesty in the frail form of an infant child. Sitting down to write this, I still considered talking about that, but when I looked back at the past year and just how difficult it has been for so many people, I felt compelled to offer some words of comfort and encouragement instead.
Solitary ManIt’s easy to look at a globally decimating pandemic and wonder just where God is in the middle of it all. Millions around the world have died, many millions more have lost jobs and/or businesses, hospitals and food banks are overrun, and our politicians have proven themselves to be mostly useless idiots grabbing for power in any way they can. Why would God allow or ordain such a potent cocktail of tragedy, devastation, and incompetence?
Unfortunately, I do not have complete and utter insight into the mind of God, so I don’t have specific answers to that question. However, God has revealed enough about Himself in Scripture to help us understand that nothing happens without purpose. And what is that ultimate purpose? It’s that God will be glorified.
Everything God does is for His own glory. Creation happened so God could display His glory (Psalm 19:1). Humanity was created for His glory (Isaiah 43:7). Isaiah 43:25 shows us that a redemptive plan was offered to show His glory (notice the phrase for my own sake). Jesus went willingly to the cross not only to save us, but to glorify His father (John 17:1). And at the end of all things, God’s glory will shine so brightly, we will have no need of the sun or the moon (Revelation 21:23).
To understand just how passionate God feels about His glory, I give you Isaiah 48:9-11: “For my name’s sake I defer my anger, for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off. Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.
If your first inclination is to think that God’s words are narcissistic, then shame on you for conflating the holy and perfect Creator with sinful, depraved humanity. Why does God get all the glory? Because He deserves it. He deserves it because of who He is. Who is He? He is the God who temporarily withholds His just wrath over sin, opting to offer compassion, mercy, and grace to rebels who come into this world hating Him. As Isaiah noted, sometimes He tries His children in “the furnace of affliction,” but His love for us never wavers as He puts us through that purifying process of sanctification. This is why Christians have hope, even in the middle of tragedy and chaos beyond our control: because absolutely nothing is beyond God’s control. Even the difficult times are Eric Landfriedengineered by Him to reveal His glory to us. He has His hand on the wheel, guiding us expertly through this storm, and regardless of what happens He is ultimately all we need. The apostle Paul said it perfectly in Romans 8:18: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing to the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
Hmm, I wonder what glory he’s talking about? Hang in there, Christians. The best is yet to come.

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