“Comfort, O comfort My people,” says your God.“
Speak kindly to Jerusalem;
And call out to her, that her warfare has ended,
That her iniquity has been removed,
That she has received of the LORD’S hand
Double for all her sins.”
A voice is calling,
“Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness;
Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.
“Let every valley be lifted up,
And every mountain and hill be made low;
And let the rough ground become a plain,
And the rugged terrain a broad valley;
Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed,
And all flesh will see it together;
For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” Is. 40:1-5 (NIV)
THE GLORY OF GOD
What’s the point of all the supernatural landscaping God is doing on Earth and in our hearts? It seems to culminate with glory.
The glory that’s already here, and yet to come.
The glory that’s already visible, and yet to be revealed.
The good news is God’s glory has been revealed, and is for everyone. The bad news is, most of us are still living glory-starved lives.
So how can we experience God’s glory? Sometimes, it’s as simple as taking time to savor a sunset, a thunderstorm, or ripe produce.
Other times, noticing just leads to sensory overload. So how can we tell the difference between an experience of God’s glory and a distraction?
The secret is liver.
I know, it sounds crazy, but stay with me a minute. כבוד (pronounced kah-vode) is the main Hebrew word we translate as ‘glory’. It shares the same root as the Hebrew word for ‘liver’. The liver is the heaviest organ in the body.
The ancient Hebrew people used what they understood about the weightiness of the liver to help them understand the weightiness of God’s glory. We still use sensory examples of his glory all around us to understand the hard-to-fathom aspects of God’s nature.
Distractions float past or zoom by. They ricochet off each other in your thoughts. Glory has weight. It settles, it rests.
In the passage above, God calls for preparation before his glory is revealed. It’s no accident that mountains, hills and valleys are part of this preparation process, because those same natural wonders are such a huge part of how we experience his glory.
I feel a settling effect when I meet God outside. The stuff that’s not worth thinking about floats away. My fragmented thoughts and conflicted feelings settle into agreement with each other and with God.
Part of experiencing God’s glory is noticing which sensory cues have weight or substance. And part of it is realizing that lots of things can be a distraction or an experience of God’s glory, depending how you handle them.
For example, one of my biggest “distractions” is the sound of my kids playing. Sometimes, I leave the room so the noise doesn’t disrupt my focus. Other times, I stop and let the weight of their miraculous lives sink in. That’s just one example of God’s glory in my life. You can ask him to reveal the weight and substance of his glory in leaves, stars or baby toes.
Liver and glory have one more thing in common. The liver cleanses the blood, and God’s glory has a purifying effect in our lives. Once we experience the weight and substance of his presence, things that mattered before seem trivial.
Where is God’s glory evident in your life right now?
How can you (re)awaken your own sense of wonder at the glory displayed in creation?