The Riches of His Glory: The Pathway of the Glory (continued)
God's Glory is Reached Through Adversity (continued)
Again, the point is that the glory comes along the lines of tribulation, suffering, and sometimes apparent defeat; that is, the apparent success of the devil himself and his emissaries. Sometimes it just does look as though satan has done it. Now, he has succeeded, but that is not the end of the story. And so you go with this man Paul from place to place, go with him to all these cities which he visited and see what happens. He later said that the Holy Spirit had witnessed to him that in every place bonds and afflictions awaited him. How true it was. We cannot follow his course, but we call to mind Lystra and such places, and pick out Philippi. Philippi - he went, and the reaction of the evil forces of satan found Paul silenced in the prison, again fast in chains, backs bleeding from their thrashings. Surely satan has won now, gained the day now, surely this is reverse and defeat. But we know the story now, the Lord of Glory had an interest in this matter, and when it is necessary, the Lord of Glory can create an earthquake and shake a prison to its foundations and loose all prisoners and save the jailer and his household and establish the Church in Philippi, to whom the Apostle Paul will later write, "My beloved and longed for my joy and my crown ..." (Phil. 4:1). He would say "crown of glory," and remember how it started, the way along which it came. He referred to this when he said to the Thessalonians, "We had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi ..." (Thess. 2:1-2). "How shamefully," he says, "how shamefully I was treated in Philippi." It was through shame, suffering adversity, that the glory came.
Now I do not know where to end all this on the riches of His glory. The whole of the New Testament has now sprung into life for us. Do we see the point? The Apostle John has a lot to say to us about this glory in his gospel right at the very beginning. There is the marriage of Cana in Galilee and the failure of the wine. This shows forth an end of all human resources where man can do nothing. Then comes in the Lord of Glory, and it say, "This beginning of signs did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and showed forth His glory" (John 2:1). Glory is seen where man's resources end, where humanly the situation is quite hopeless. That is the pathway of the glory. And then Lazarus: "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified" (John 11:4). And to the poor, baffled sisters, "Said I not unto thee, that if thou wouldst believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?" (John 11:40). But the necessity for the manifestation of the glory was the utter end of all human hope, where there is perfect helplessness on the part of man, then the glory comes in.
I wish we could believe it, and always believe it, when things are so utterly hopeless, when it is always quite impossible for us to do anything at all, we have to take our hands off and stand back and say, "Only the Lord God Almighty can handle this situation." May that not be the way of glory?! I wish we really could believe it. If only we could always believe that these situations - which seem to be so often the work of the devil with his complete triumph - are only the pathway of the glory, that in the end when the full story is told, it will not be all tragedy, all defeat, but the end will be glory through grace.
(continued with # 34 - (What Is the Pathway of the Glory?)