My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Gimme Glory. Now, please.

Today at church we have a special guest - Dr. Greg Harris, author of the book, The Cup and the Glory. His message is about how suffering brings us closer to God's Glory. He taught in Sunday School and again during the Worship Service and will teach again tonight during our small group Bible Study time (which will be a large group tonight!) You can find out more about him and his book at

The heart of what he spoke about this morning was in Mark 9:35-41, where two of the disciples, James and John ask Jesus that He allow them to share in His Glory. Here's the passage so you can have some context:
The Request of James and John
35Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. "Teacher," they said, "we want you to do for us whatever we ask."
36"What do you want me to do for you?" he asked.
37They replied, "Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory."
38"You don't know what you are asking," Jesus said. "Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?"
39"We can," they answered. Jesus said to them, "You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with,

40but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared."
41When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John.

So... here are these two friends of Jesus who have been hanging out with Him... following Him around... observing His miracles, learning His teaching... who had recently experienced an amazing event - the Transfiguration (see Mark 9 and Luke 9 for two accounts) where God Himself spoke and they saw the Glory of the Lord for themselves. And although they have been told NOT TO MENTION what they had seen... yet... here they come to Jesus and say, "Hey... so we want a bit more of that Glory stuff we had the other day". Seriously. Like another hit of crack. Not to impugn the gospel or speak ill of Jesus' disciples - just to make it real - they wanted more.

Here's the part where I tie this all in... stay with me, those of you who skim over the churchy stuff...

Truly, for me to have survived the past few months was nothing short of a miracle. I should have died. I'm not saying that I wish I had died... I'm saying that with the amount of drugs in my system when I was taken to the hospital when I overdosed... I should not have been able to survive. With the amount of time that elapsed between when I took the pills and when I started receiving treatment.. I should not have survived. But I did. And I survived that horrible mental hospital... (which, if you weren't crazy when you got there, they'd make you crazy before you left!) And then I survived packing up and leaving a husband that I love (present tense)... and then I found a job and a place to live and was blessed immensely with all the things we could possibly need here... and then my stepson's mother died and God's Grace, once again, was sufficient for us... and although I grieve Misty (I still go to her myspace page, halfway hoping that she will have updated, somehow, and that her death was not real)... God has taken care of Bobby and God has allowed those of us who cared for her, to be able to move forward. And God has continued to meet my needs and comfort me in my sorrow and guide me and so on and so on...

And I say, "I need more". Just like James and John said, "BTW.. Jesus... Son of God... King of Kings and Lord of Lord... we want YOU to do whatever we ask". Paraphrased but that's the gist... Gimme, gimme, gimme.

No, I don't think they were greedy. I think they were hungry. I think they were passionate. Zealous. I think they had a foretaste of Glory Divine and it just wasn't enough.

And Jesus answered them by saying, "You don't know what you are asking.".

Hmmmm. Wow. That's an "oh me" instead of an "amen". I keep asking for more... more of His Grace. More of His presence. More of His Spirit. Greater understanding. Patience. Love. Peace. And oh yeah... God... since we're talking anyways... and since I've been very good this year (Ooops. That speech is for Santa... let me try again) God... since I am READY... and since I have learned (past tense) my lesson about living outside of your will... and since I'm allllll ready now to live in your will... I'd like to have a mate, please. And God bless all the starving people in Africa, Amen.

"You don't know what you are asking."

See... cause I'm ready now, immediately, I think, to share in the good stuff, right? I'm ready for His Glory to just be poured out on me. Cuz I've suffered already, right? And we are taught in Romans that "the Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs - heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings, in order that we may also share in His Glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing..."

There's another Oh Me.

"are not worth comparing with the Glory that will be revealed in us". Romans 8:16-18.

So here I am in this place of (I think) intense suffering because let me just tell ya... my heart is breaking... for the loss of my marriage, for the disappointment that my marriage - and that entire relationship - wasn't what I wanted, hoped, dreamed, expected. I am scared to death (almost literally) to be alone for the rest of my life. I'm one cat and one stack of newspapers away from being the crazy cat lady. Ok, not really... but I fear loneliness. My heart breaks for a child who does not have a mother and my heart breaks with the guilt that if I had just done things right/better/different... I would be there for him. I could be a loving wife and mother.

Reality check - not so much. The other heartbreaking reality for me is that I had/have no power to change any of this. The heartbreaking reality is that no matter how healed I start thinking I am, the truth that my husband could not love me - and that I cannot change that - brings me to my knees. It's crippling. Yes, intellectually I know that it takes two people and blah blah blah... and let's just all agree (since this is my blog and therefore I make the rules) that he's just a great big fool that missed out on something wonderful in me... I still can't escape the thoughts that say, "why couldn't he love me? what is wrong with ME?"

Any more than a parent who has lost a child can understand the "why me?" "Why us?" "why can other people have what they want but I can't?" Why are there other women who *I think* are much less deserving than me... who have their "happily ever after". Why not me? Why do any of us have to suffer?

Let me try to tie this all together... I want you to feel the encouragement I feel from this lesson today, even just in some small way, so that you can also be encouraged in whatever you're suffering...

You are either a believer in Christ or not. If you are not, then I believe with all my heart that suffering is meant to turn your eyes to Jesus and to lead to a saving knowledge of Him. Disagree all you want - that's what I believe. (see comments on me making all the rules here).

If you are a Believer. And I am... then you believe that the cross and all that Jesus suffered there was at least in some small part about you. If you are a believer, you believe that suffering was to bring you salvation. And if you want... as I so desperately do... to serve God, to share in His Glory... to have a life that furthers His kingdom... suffering is used to bring you closer to him.

Ok. Either way, suffering brings you closer to God. That's the bottom line. Hate it all you want. That's what it's meant to do... to turn your focus to God.

I'm no martyr. I'm not nailing myself to the cross. I'm not saying that being a victim of divorce makes you any more holy than anyone else. I'm just saying that it is in those moments of true and absolute loneliness when you reach to God as if you were grasping at your last straw. And I'm just tellin' ya... what is true for me... that I'm a James and a John. I want all He can offer me. And if that means that I share a few humiliating, heartbreaking disappointments in order to get there... *deep breath*... then so be it.

By the way... everyone looks at Job for Godly examples of how to suffer but I will suggest to you that you read 2 Timothy and 2 Peter... the death row epistles of Paul and Peter.... to see what they had to say as they were truly suffering for what they believed. This was just brought to my attention today and I am eager to read in that perspective.

Something else I learned today that I should have already known... one of those lessons I apparently have to keep learning before I get it right... we need to live our lives as what we hope to be, not what we really are. I hope to be a wife. When I was a little girl and would think about what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would say, "a wife and mother". I didn't want to be a nurse or a teacher or an airline stewardess (that's what they were called when I was a child)... I wanted to be a wife and mother. God has granted me the right to be a mother but being a wife has escaped me. Michael has said to me that I didn't want to necessarily be HIS wife, I just wanted to be A wife. I quote him here without permission but this is one of the times that I have to admit he *might* be right. And so I have to really focus on being a wife... even though it's not my current reality... even though it hasn't really worked out for me so far... I have to strive to be a woman of noble character... with expectation that God will use that and bless that.

".... make every effort to be found spotless, blamesless and at peace with Him". 2 Peter 3:14

Have a great Sunday. *love and hugs*


I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

So many good words there that it's hard to pinpoint just one for sure. I can tell you were very touched by the speaker and isn't that what we all need sometimes. A shot in the arm to give us a boost. 'On Ya'-ma

Unknown said...

I checked out your journal because the title caught my attention. I am a big fan of GWTW. I identify with Scarlett and her resolute character. I haven't readmuch, but from what I've read, I gather that you have gone through much pain. You talk about going to some dark places. Just remember that no matter how dark it seems to be, there is light at the end of that dark tunnel; if you beleieve that, you can go on. I speak from experience and I know that this may sound strange coming from a stranger, but I care what happens to you.

Remo said...

I've down in that bottomless pit of divorce this year and I understand your feelings. I was a father and husband until the "husband" part was yanked away without my opinion. It seems trite to say "give it time" but it applies nonetheless.
You've come a long way. Keep walking...

Emmi said...

Heahter ... this is a beautiful entry & I hope people reading will be inspired by your words. HUGS

Big Mark 243 said...

A good entry Missy. Coming to the realization that it wasn't meant for you and Michael is going to be key ... you said it, that you want to be a wife, and he didn't want you to be his.

You know that you will be a fantastic partner. It is going to happen. I am not one to speak on scrpture, and I am prone to make a malaprop when doing so, but I remember hearing that when you ask for what you want, do so, completely.

Asking to be 'a wife', didn't work, just like asking 'to be married' isn't enough. When you get what you ask for, you have to accept what you got.

When you ask to be 'a wife', to whom do you want to be 'a wife'? People that I still feel for, are people who 'appeared' after I made a complete request of the person I wanted, which is why I accept the responsibility for the failure of those relationships. It COULDN'T have been them, because I got what I asked for ... so it had to be me!

That is what you should be careful of. Not only asking specifically for what you want, but that you include that you BE READY to claim the thing that you ask for.

But that is me, and I am secular, so what do I know?