“I have given them the glory that you gave me,
that they may be one as we are one—”
John 17:22 (NIV)
Jesus spoke of glory and meant several things by it. In our passage today I believe Jesus speaks of the life of suffering that He is passing on to His followers.
He spoke of His glory in John 13:31 as the suffering that was upon Him. In the resurrection Jesus spoke to Peter about how he would glorify God through a terrible death. So glory and suffering are linked together in various passages of the Bible.
Most of us have no love for suffering. These devotionals are written to people who think clearly and yet many of whom have suffered much in life. No one in their right mind goes out looking for ways to suffer. So suffering is not invited into our lives but it still intrudes itself into our personal space in many different forms.
Throughout Scripture God warns His beloved children time and time again that there is a price to be paid if they wish to follow Him. Everyone who has seriously studied Scripture knows that suffering is an integral part of the Christian life.
We glorify God in our suffering when we submit to God’s will and purpose in these times when we do not understand His ways. Jesus has called His people to take up their cross and follow Him (Luke 9:23). A cross is an instrument of death.
In Jesus’ day—when someone was seen carrying a cross somewhere—everyone knew that it was a one way trip for the person. They were not coming back. That individual would never be seen again. They were walking to their death scene. So a cross is not a burden, it is a form of execution. But through death to personal privilege, death to pleasure, death to self—we can glorify God wonderfully.
One fine Christian mother I knew well was nursing her baby one day when she discovered a lump in her breast. A cold chill ran through her heart as she realized the possible reason for that lump. Her mother had died of breast cancer when she was a teenager. What did this mean to her, to her family?
During the next few years she bravely fought the same disease that took her own mother’s life. I visited her in hospital many times during her final days. All the hospital staff were greatly influenced by her calm demeanour in a tragic situation. Diane glorified God by her enormous suffering. Several staff commented on how they heard her singing beautifully songs of praise to Jesus as she lay dying.
No sermon any preacher ever preached on the sufficiency of Christ ever equalled the glory that dear woman brought to Jesus during those dark days. Take your suffering today and offer it as a sacrifice to Jesus. Tell Him you are satisfied to endure this if He will show you how His name is glorified in it. He will certainly tell you in His time.