Yesterday I was thinking about one of the altars I have in my life. You know, the kind Old Testament Jews used to remind them of God’s faithfulness. I have them set up all over, mostly in the form of stories. One of mine is a story I get to tell often about Hope’s birth. Part of that story goes something like this.
I got to spend six weeks getting to know Hope’s birth mom and walking her through that last part of pregnancy. We went to doctor’s appointments together, birthing classes, and we talked a lot about what was going on inside her body. I was to be her birthing coach and, while I was incredibly excited about being there when Hope was born, I was so scared that I would experience some sort of jealousy towards her birth mom, and that my jealousy would rob me of the beautiful moment when my daughter came into this world. The moment came and as we worked together to help bring Hope into this world, the Lord made it clear that I was exactly where I was supposed to be. In the moments after Hope was born and we became an instant family, the Lord said to me, more clearly than I have ever heard him speak, “I put families together and it has very little to do with biology.” This is so clear to an adoptive parent. It is true for all families, biological or adoptive, but it is so glaringly true for adoptive families that it is, thankfully, hard to miss. There is no way that I could have ever misconstrued the situation to believe that I had anything to do with creating my family. God got all the glory….as it should be.
As I camped out at that altar for a while, I started thinking about how much of my life is spent looking for some glory. Sometimes it starts out innocently enough. I have an intense desire to offer something significant to people when I counsel, when I sing, when I parent, etc. This is not a bad thing. I want people to know more of the Lord. I want to be used by Him to speak truth and life to those around me. Oh, but it is so easy to cross over into that dangerous territory where it becomes for my glory and not for his. It sneaks up on you, that kind of sin. The result when this happens is that I always end up offering something that falls far short of what he desires.
Sometimes it makes me want to just quit...quit singing, quit counseling, quit offering. It seems too risky…too easy to make it about me and so God and I discuss quitting. His answer, which I know before I even ask, is no, and, even though I don’t trust myself, I have to trust his no. And I do. I do because I know that just as situations where he so obviously gets all the glory lead me into a deeper understanding of who he is, situations where I struggle with this sneaky sin of glorifying myself lead me into a deeper understanding of who I am. And I find that both of these are necessary to cause me to cling, ever so tightly, to Him. As uncomfortable as it is, the knowledge of my depravity is a blessing. It causes me to seek the Lord more, to know Him better, to hold less tightly to my own causes, my own motivations, my own desires. And when I do that, all of the sudden, there is room for him to be glorified in my life.