“He Shall Glorify Me”
Bible Reading: John 14:16-17, 16:7-14; 2 Corinthians 3:18
What’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen? Your bride (or husband) on your wedding day? A newborn child, having just made his, or her entrance into this world? Some majestic part of God’s creation–a snow covered mountain peak, or some beautiful river cascading through some tree lined canyon, or the vast expanse of the star-filled heaven, or the deep-blue sea? When you stop to think about it, the beauty we see in creation owes its beauty to the One who created it. If these things on earth can be so lovely to us, how much more beautiful is the One who made it all!
That being said, the most beautiful thing in all of God’s creation is the person of Jesus Christ. Though sin works to blind sinners to that reality, we who believe have had our own eye-opening experience to the beauty of Jesus (2 Corinthians 4:6). By the Spirit we are even now “beholding His glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
The story of Fanny Crosby, the hymn writer, is a remarkable one indeed! She was the writer of some hymns you probably know, like: “Blessed Assurance,” “Rescue the Perishing,” and “To God be the Glory.” What you may not know is, she was blinded by the malpractice of a doctor when she was only six weeks old and never regained her sight. As a young girl, she possessed a joyful spirit and loved to play with her friends, who would describe for her various things she could not see. Early on it became apparent she had an amazing ability to memorize Scripture, God would make much use of that gift when she grew older.
Through the course of her life Fanny Crosby would write the words to more than 8000 hymns! You’ve no doubt sung some of them. Each song is centered around the beauty of Our Savior and the work He has accomplished for us. Take for example what she wrote in “Give Me Jesus”: “Take the world, but give me Jesus, in His cross my trust shall be; Till, with clearer, brighter vision, face to face my Lord I see!”
During the last years of her life, Frances Ridley Havergal (the writer of the hymn “Take My Life and Let it Be”) kept up a correspondence with Fanny Crosby. Frances wrote about her friend, saying, “How can she sing in the dark like this? What is her fountain of light and bliss? Her heart can see, her heart can see! Well may she sing so joyously! For the King Himself, in His tender grace, hath shown her the brightness of His face!”
You and I are not blind. It’s hard to envision what that’d be like! Yet blind or not blind, the Spirit of God is well able to unveil the beauty of Jesus to us. As J. I. Packer explains, that is His chief ministry: “The Spirit focuses attention, not on himself, but on the Savior. He has a ministry of illumination through the Word that convinces us of the reality of Christ; a ministry that leads us to see our need of Christ so that we embrace him in faith and love; a ministry that keeps us prayerfully in touch with Christ and assured of salvation by Christ; and a ministry of oneness which connects us to Christ in such a way that his risen life flows into us and he ministers to others through us.”
I wrote in an earlier post, of a challenge we sometimes face as believers inasmuch as our prayers don’t reach high enough. Our concern for earthly comforts outweighs other loftier and eternal matters. Let’s pray that we might be “awestruck by Jesus,” as we realize the Holy Spirit is already at work in our lives to that end. There is a line in the hymn “More About Jesus” which prayerfully speaks to this: “More about Jesus let me learn, More of His holy will discern; Spirit of God, my teacher be, Showing the things of Christ to me.” In humility let us go to the Word, not just to know more about what it says, but to behold the beauty of Jesus, in anticipation of the day when we will marvel at Him (2 Thessalonians 1:10)! There’s nothing in all of creation more beautiful than He!
Heavenly Father, how incredibly blessed we are! We once were blind, but now we see, as You’ve worked to bring us out of darkness into Your wonderful light! Yet we tend to long for earthly things and be enamored with earthly sights! Grant us grace to simply long to know You better! That our hearts would refuse to be satisfied in earthly distractions of passing pleasure! We pray Your beauty, Lord Jesus, would captivate our being, fill our hearts and minds and flow forth from our lips! We long for the day in which we shall behold You face to face and we will be awestruck by You forevermore! Amen.
Great things he has taught us, great things he has done,
and great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son,
but purer and higher and greater will be
our joy and our wonder, when Jesus we see.