Glory I Couldn’t See
When Mike Donehey said YES to the present
When Christian singer, songwriter and author, Mike Donehey talked with his band, Tenth Avenue North, they came to the amicable conclusion that they wanted to retire the band. So, they planned a “Farewell Tour.”
As Mike shared with Family Life Radio, that tour was cut short and became “The Cancelled by Covid Tour.”
Mike found himself at home having to teach his children. He was frustrated with God since he thought he was trying to honor Him and his bandmates with this tour. It was supposed to be a proper farewell.
It was then that a passage from C.S. Lewis’s Screwtape Letters came to his mind. The uncle demon is coaching the nephew demon on how to tempt the human. He tells him to try to get the human to be obsessed with the past. But even better, because the past is finite, get him to obsess about the future, because that is infinite. He tells him not to let his human know what they know – that the enemy, God, knows that the present is the only point where time touches eternity.
Mike explained, “What that means is right now is the only time I am actually alive. Forever is now. If I do not say, ‘Yes,’ to where I am right now, I become a victim to life. But the second I say this is not what I would have chosen, but I choose to be here in it, I say, ‘Yes,’ to where I am, I can interact with eternity. I can interact with God.”
Mike moved from being a victim to being a victor.
“Glory I Couldn’t See” was the description of Mike opening his eyes to his present circumstances. Mike knew if he would do that, he would be able to see God’s involvement.
When Mike said, “Yes,” to his current circumstances, he could see God in it.
He went from being angry to living “in the moment,” catching fireflies at home every night, making dinners and building forts with his family. He chose to be in the present and realized all the glory he had been missing because he could not say, “Yes.”
The unknown and unexpected are all around. Usually, even amid expected change, there is some level of grief.
Psalm 126:5 says, “Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy” (NIV).
“We often think the opposite is true,” Mike explained. “We think those who do not shed any tears and are not ever sad will reap songs of joy. In other words, to get happy, we try to raise the floor of our sadness. Maybe, what Psalm 126 is saying is that the way you get to joy and raise the roof of your joy is to lower the basement of your sadness. Maybe, the people who struggle with sadness are the ones who are not allowing themselves to mourn properly.”
“In the Hebrew culture, they mourn for two weeks when a family member dies. They do nothing but mourn. They do not say, ‘No. It is good. They are going to be with Jesus. Praise God.’ They acknowledge the loss. They weep. That is why Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus (John 11:35). He knew He was about to raise him from the dead, but He cried.”
Maybe Jesus was qualifying sadness to say when you weep, it means it mattered.
“And some of us do not know what is important because we will not allow ourselves to mourn properly. I say allow people to weep.”
“We are not told to rejoice with those who rejoice and tell those who weep to get over it. We are told to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice.”
(See Romans 12:15)
As you move through life, there will be sorrow and there will be joy. God wants you to trust Him. In Philippians 4:6, He says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (ESV).
Mike decided to take that command seriously and soon found himself on a plane heading to lead worship with a group of people. The flight was already delayed two hours when the captain announced the flight was cancelled. Mike realized he was not going to make it since the next flight was not until the next morning. He knew this was beyond his control. He began laughing as he decided he was not going to be anxious. He was excited to see how God would work this out.
The next thing Mike heard was the pilot announcing that this was the first time in 29 years of piloting, but the flight had been uncancelled.
Mike marveled, “What if I can stay on the front side of bad news? What if I just cannot wait to see how God is going to work things out?”
If you choose not to be anxious about anything, you can live a supernatural life.
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