“These signs of Your Presence strengthen me and prepare me for whatever difficulties I’ll encounter on the road ahead. Help me to remember that nothing in all creation can separate me from Your Love!”
– Jesus Listens, September 22nd
“God is going to do big things with your life,” we often hear. No doubt well meaning, but is it true? Is it big when God allows a believer to wrestle with debilitating chronic illness? Is it big when a godly servant spends his or her life serving in a small one-room church in a rural town? Is it big when a mother turns down a corner-office promotion to teach her children full time from home? Can a small and hidden life be as glorious as one seen and heard across the globe?
While not big by earthly standards, even small acts of obedience that go unnoticed can be big displays of God’s glory. You see, God is doing big things when redeemed lives, no longer living for themselves, bring Him glory.
If I’m honest: There are days when you can find me scheming big plans for my ideal life and thinking more of myself than I ought. This posture is the source of 99.99 percent of my discontent and worry, and my guess is that you often see the same in your life too. I’m always miserable when I forget who’s in charge of the journey I’m on.
Big and noteworty
What makes something big or noteworthy? Dollars? Followers? Influence? Fame? In the hustle and hurry of our daily walk with God, it’s easy to convince ourselves that we’re simply trying to make the most of our lives when we’re actually wooed by earthly glory rather than His. It’s hard to be consumed with God’s glory when we’re busy trying to acquire our own.
And then these familiar words rise to the surface of my thoughts:
Should nothing of our efforts stand, no legacy survive; Unless the Lord does raise the house, in vain its builders strive. To you who boast tomorrow’s gain, tell me what is your life? A mist that vanishes at dawn, all glory be to Christ! All glory be to Christ our King. All glory be to Christ! His rule and reign we’ll ever sing, all glory be to Christ!
I get tearful every time I begin to sing these opening lines to the hymn “All Glory Be to Christ.” The truths reflected in these lines unmask the ache and weariness that so often accompanies us as we journey with Christ—simply because we for-get that it’s not about us.
Release and relief.
How do we get so caught up in believing this journey is all about us? The pressure’s off, friend; all the glory belongs to Christ.
Recognizing the emptiness of our earthly pursuits and the temporal nature of much of what we build is not meant to discourage us. Instead, the reality of the fleeting nature of our journey is meant to point pilgrims like me and you to that which will outshine all else. Only that which Christ did—His work on the cross and His redemption and restoration of us to the Father—will last into eternity. Not our 401(k)accounts, not our diplomas, not the nonprofits we started, nor the books we wrote. Not the stamps on our passports, not the homes we built. But don’t be disheartened, friend. Be a glory chaser; run after God’s glory and not your own. The impact of your life lived for Christ certainly will have eternal effects. But what you build here on earth itself will not last forever.
What big plans does God have for our lives, then? That as those forgiven and sanctified in Christ, we—as Christ-followers—are His trophies, and our redeemed and praise-filled presence in heaven will bring Him glory—for eternity.
Any glory we could attain on this earth pales in comparison to the glory we get to bring Christ with our surrendered lives.
Like the sunrise that comes over the horizon after a long night, may the glory of Christ be the warmth and light by which you and I run—or crawl, if we must—over the finish line of our pilgrim journey heavenward. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and our pilgrim journey knows no course but the story of redemption that God has written from before the beginning of time. We’ve never walked this road alone, and we never will. The declarations of God’s grace are all around, and His forever grace will lead us all the way home.
Excerpted from: Pilgrim. Copyright © 2023 Ruth Chou Simons (art and text). Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon 97408. www.harvesthousepublishers.com
About The Author
Ruth Chou Simons is a Wall Street Journal bestselling and award-winning author of several books and Bible studies, including Pilgrim, GraceLaced, Beholding and Becoming, and When Strivings Cease. She is an artist, entrepreneur, podcaster, and speaker, using each of these platforms to spiritually sow the Word of God into people’s hearts. Through social media, her online shoppe at GraceLaced.com, and the GraceLaced Collective community, Simons shares her journey of God’s grace intersecting daily life with word and art. Ruth and her husband, Troy, are grateful parents to six boys—their greatest adventure.