The Joy of Glory

Discovering endless joy in the boundless glory of God…

Tag: joy

A Prayer for Asher

Heavenly Father…

Yet again you have graced me with a gift I did nothing to deserve. I hold in my arms my fourth child… my second son… Asher David Haefs. I find myself more in awe of your mystery and miracles every time I experience the wonder of a baby’s entrance into the world. It seems like the opposite should be true… I should be growing more accustomed to this by now… I should be used to it…

…but i’m not.

How one could ever become numb to revelations of glory is beyond me. The mountain range of your majesty looms larger with every peak I summit.

And… as I see more and more of your greatness, I simultaneously feel more and more of my depravity. Why me? Why would I be graced with such a gift? Why would I be entrusted with such a treasure? Why would you choose weakness such as me?

That’s when my heart hears your reply… “My power is made perfect in weakness.”

Oh Lord, this is the prayer of my heart and the cry of my soul… that your power would be made known to this beautiful boy even when it when the only way for it to be seen is through my weakness! Exploit my weakness everyday if it means him seeing more of you! I know that I am merely a weak vessel of clay that’s ready to crack… still I have this treasure… that you would pour forth your power through the cracks in such a way that all may know it could obviously come only from you!

God, you must father this child, as you do all my children. You must guide, strengthen, raise, nurture, lead, discipline, care, and comfort. You must be his rock, his foundation, and his salvation… for I can never be any of these things. Keep me from ever thinking I could substitute for you. Let this be the single greatest thing I ever teach him, namely, that his needs will not be met in me, but in you and you alone.

We have named him Asher (which means “happy”) in hopes that he will truly live up to his name and know the deepest, highest, widest and longest happiness… you!

HAPPY is the man whose transgressions are forgiven! HAPPY is the man whose sin is covered! HAPPY is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity! May Asher know the reason the forgiven are so happy, namely, their sin no longer stands in the way of having you! Oh I pray he knows the joy of his sin being removed so that he gets you! Let him experience fullness of joy in your presence, and everlasting pleasure at your right hand! May he drink deeply from the eternal fountain of your glory, which alone can quench his eternal thirst for joy!

And, oh Lord, let us be faithful to help him see the way to your waters!

Empower us our hearts’ to be a to the rhythm of “To live is Christ and to die is gain” so loudly that his own heart knows no other beat. In life and in death, I pray his soul treasure is you…and i pray he learns this because you are our sole treasure.

Father, use my life and death however you choose to point him and his siblings to this reality. May my life never give them the false impression that the things this world has to offer could be rightly called “gain.” If I gain this whole world, but forfeit my soul… I have lost everything!

May it never be!

Teach me to sacrifice all this world has to offer in order to purchase the pearl of your kingdom!

Oh Father, use my life in any way you choose to teach Asher the true meaning of his name… to teach him what true happiness is… it is you and only you!

This is my prayer that I lay before your throne with tears of sorrow and joy… sorrow for the world and the narrow way that I know Asher must endure… but joy for the person and prize that empower him all the way and await him in fullness at the end.

I boldly put this prayer before your throne with great confidence because I know I approach through the blood of your own son who payed the price for me to pray! I pray in power, because I know the power is not my own, but the very power of your Spirit working in me and praying for me even as my words fall short. He prays for me when I don’t know how.

So through your Son Jesus and by the power of your Holy Spirit… I pray for my son Asher… may he know the meaning of his name… may he know true, everlasting happiness in you.

Amen.

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Lent Devotional: Job 22

Job 22 (click here)
If you return to the Almighty you will be built up; if you remove injustice far from your tents, 24 if you lay gold in the dust, and gold of Ophir among the stones of the torrent-bed, 25 then the Almighty will be your gold and your precious silver. 26 For then you will delight yourself in the Almighty and lift up your face to God. (Job 22:23-26)

Reflection
With these words, Eliphaz reveals the root problem with his (and Job’s other friends) theology. We’ve already seen that he has a “transaction” based theology. In other words, do good and God does good to you. Do bad and God does bad to you. This is the exact belief system that Satan assumed Job had in chapters 1-2.

Yet, right here, in chapter 22, Eliphaz reveals the ultimate problem created by such a “transactional” faith. He tells Job that if he will repent and return to the Lord he will be built back up… i.e. God will bless him with wealth, health, and favorable circumstances again. Then come his words in verse 25… and it is the kicker…

Once Job returns and is built back up, THEN God will become his treasure. Eliphaz believes that God is treasured through things. This could not be further from the truth! This is a treasuring of things… not of God! It is a treasuring of gifts… not the giver! Eliphaz cannot imagine a scenario in which God is treasured when all the gifts are gone.

Job is struggling with what God is doing in his life, but he has not let go of God, because he understands what it truly means to have God as treasure… to love him more than any of the possessions or people in your life… to treasure him more than your own health. If God is not our treasure amidst pain, he will never be our treasure amidst pleasure. We, like Eliphaz, will deceive ourselves into believing that we delight in God when, in reality, all we delight in are his gifts.

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

Lent Devotional: Job 21

Job 21 (click here)
[The wicked] spend their days in prosperity, and in peace they go down to Sheol. 14 They say to God, “Depart from us! We do not desire the knowledge of your ways. 15 What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? And what profit do we get if we pray to him?” (Job 21:13-15)

Reflection
Job is once again rebuking his friends and pointing out holes in their tight knit theodicy. Again and again he claims that the wicked do not always experience punishment for their sins, but are often prosperous in this life. Do we not see this played even today?

All around us, people prosper through lying, cheating, oppressing, etc. Dishonesty has become considered necessary if one wants to succeed in gaining power or wealth. Even more than that, how often have you seen someone be successful who has no regard for God… or perhaps they even mock him! Yet, their success seems to have no end.

Without meaning to do so, Job is actually highlighting for us another tactic of Satan to keep people from worshipping the Lord, namely, prosperity. Throughout this book, we have watched Satan use pain to try and get Job to curse God, but I think Satan actually uses prosperity for this purpose even more so than pain.

Perhaps the entire reason he brought pain into Job’s life was that Job was not distracted from worship of the Lord amidst all his original prosperity! Job points out to us that many people who are prosperous see no need for God. There is no purpose in serving him or praying to him, for they have everything they want and couldn’t imagine any more benefit from serving some deity.

This is what happens when we view our relationship with God as a means to some other end. If we only want God so that he will do “x” for us or give us “y” then if we already have it… we don’t need him… and if it is withheld or taken away… we curse him. Pleasure or pain brings our “relationship” with God to ruin when the foundation of that relationship is anything other than joy in God himself!

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

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