I came upon this passage earlier this week in my personal devotions. Jesus’ words have stuck with me since then…
“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!”
Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.”
The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him. (John 12:23-29 NIV)
It was particularly interesting to me when he said “for this very reason I came to this hour.” And then “Father, glorify your name!”
Jesus’ heart was troubled as the time for his death drew closer. The impending suffering was dreadful. His humanity begged to cry out ‘Father, save me from this hour!’
Don’t we have this cry every time that life is hard? Every time that God requires us to make some sacrifice or die some small death? I know that almost every difficult thing I have ever encountered I have asked God to simply rescue me from–evaporation of hardship, please Lord!
But what if God had plucked Joseph right out of his slavery in Egypt? What if he rescued him instantly from his prison? The result of Joseph’s suffering was a later rise to power and fame in Egypt, the miraculous, God-glorifying gift of several interpreted dreams, and the saving of thousands during a time of world-wide famine. Only God knows what far-reaching results His plans for Joseph had. Most importantly it resulted in the family lineage of Messiah being preserved.
And what of Esther? Didn’t God allow her to be placed in harm’s way, “for such a time as this,” to save His people and glorify His name?
Suffering is not merely a roadblock, or an obstacle to be overcome or avoided. It is integral to God’s plan.
I wonder if, when we beg for hardship to be taken away, we don’t also beg for God to glorify Himself through someone else.
Mordecai told Esther that God would raise up another to rescue his people, but she and her family would perish. Because of her bravery in speaking up for her people, even when doing so could end in her death, she is remembered as one of the most valiant women to ever live.
As believers, when we face some trial in life, we should be encouraged. God has brought us very intentionally to the hour of suffering. Let us follow Jesus in saying “Father, glorify your name!”
When Jesus asked the Father to glorify His name, the Father answered that request. I think we may have confidence in His granting our request when we pray that He glorify His name as well.
It is in losing our lives for His sake, that we will truly find it.
Father, glorify your name.