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How to Measure God's Goodness and Glory: Thoughts after the Storm


This morning I watered my lawn. Houston is flooded. The storm was supposed to flood the Coastal Bend, and I am watering my lawn.

Theology is sometimes a scary word. Theology for many is seen as a leisurely activity of the pretentious and smart who sit in libraries or coffee shops and read books. In the real world, theology is an exercise by the those who question. Many in Texas have acted as a theologian this week. When why ask “Why did God...”, we are theologians. In times like this theology matters.

God has Glory. God is good. These are all true. Even in a storm.

As Christians and skeptics alike ask why and how God is involved in all of this, we become theologians. Our faith and our ideas of God are put to work and tested. I want to list a few scriptures, observations, definitions, and a hymn that I have pondered today.

God has Glory.

Scripture as a definition. 

Biblical glory is a word that is often stolen by a worldly idea of glory. It becomes synonymous with power or prestige. But the Bible makes it clear, God’s glory is defined. Jesus is the EXACT view of God’s glory.  He [Jesus] is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. - Hebrews 1:3 Jesus that dies, Jesus that cries, Jesus that forgives, Jesus that rises from the dead, Jesus is the way we measure glory. We do not measure glory by strength or power but in character and love. Another example of God's unique ruler of glory is when Elijah is on the mountain. God was not in the powerful displays of fire and earthquakes but in the whisper. (1 Kings 19)

God is good.

Observation and definition. 

Observe what is not said.  God is safe. God is on my side. God is happy. There is a temptation, perhaps from the devil, to make us change the definition of good. If I describe a good meal, it is not a meal that makes me safe. If I describe a good teacher, I do not think of one that is on my side. Or a good car is not one that makes me happy. It is important to think of what good means, and what good does not mean.  Good is having the qualities required for a particular role. God is not good in the same way a meal, teacher, car, nation, or a pet is good. God is good in the way a God hase the qualities to fill his role.

Conclusion

Many of us can say God is Good, and Glory is to God when we are "well off." For instance, when I am watering my yard days after I expected a devastating flood, it may be easy say Glory to the good God. But the God of the Bible, the God of Jesus, the one true God is also good if the hurricane hits. God is not good when no one gets hurt. God is good because he hurts with us, and ultimately for us. This is what is required from a God. A good God is more concerned with hurting with us, than stopping us from hurting. Likewise, the Glory of God comes from character, not power. The glory of the crucifixion on the cross is not seen till the death and even more so illuminated after the resurrection. God's glory is like Jesus, and we will see his glory, not in the destruction and death but the resurrection. This is how the Christian says, "God is good and glorified in the storm." without lying.

This may seem odd, but the Christian faith is unusual. One of our favorite songs as the church to sing this last century is the Old Rugged Cross. Where churches all over the place sing these lines “The Emblem of Suffering Shame” that “I love… And I cherish”. This is a song that understands that the God of the universe has goodness and glory even when the hurricane hits, and when it misses.



Take a moment to worship Johny Cash if you please. And please continue to pray.


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