How often do we take comfort in verses like:
“I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.” – Psalm 18:3
“In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried to my God for help; He heard my voice out of His temple, and my cry for help before Him came into His ears.” – Psalm 18:6
There are many verses like this that give us confidence in the Lord’s care and protection. But do we consider the implications of what’s in between verses 18:3 and 18:6?
“The cords of death encompassed me, and the torrents of ungodliness terrified me. The cords of Sheol surrounded me; the snares of death confronted me.” – Psalm 18:4-5
David’s celebration of God’s faithful response grew out of his being in circumstances from which he needed to be rescued. We tend to think of the “blessed life” as one of continually pleasant circumstances. But is that the life that truly brings God the most glory? Not that we should seek trials and struggles, but do we use the ones we encounter as an opportunity to rely upon the Lord and bring Him glory out of our difficulties?
I was recently reading about the 14+ years Lutheran minister, Richard Wurmbrand, spent in Romanian prisons because of his faith. The incredible ways God used him and the glory God has received as a result of his imprisonment are amazing. Had his imprisonment lasted only a few weeks, his life may have been “much easier” but the resulting glory to God would have been dramatically less.
So how serious are we when we say we want to live for God’s glory? I don’t believe anyone should seek to live the life of a martyr. But I also don’t believe we should interpret “the good life” as being the ultimate blessing. Even God’s apparent delay in rescuing us may be a chance to give Him greater glory. If we’re truly living for God’s glory we’ll find ways to give Him that glory in whatever circumstances we find ourselves. As Paul said in Philippians 4,
“I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.” – Phil 4:12
This is the same chapter where he says things like, “Rejoice in the Lord always”, “be anxious for nothing”, and “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” All of these statements apply to the times of suffering as well as the times of abundance.
We will be most satisfied with our lives when our greatest satisfaction comes from seeing God glorified.