Throughout the history of religion, many things have been claimed all for the “Glory of God” – money, power, conquests, success, etc. To be more specific, many “human” desires that were pursued by people “not for themselves” but this is “all for the Glory of God”. As if God is this tyrant whose sole objective is dominion and possession over everything. But if you think about it, God already owns everything…except for one thing: will. God already has dominion over everything that was, is and will be. But because He loves us so much, he set man …. to obey or disobey his Holy Will.
If you know God and love God truly, all he wants is your whole self – your obedience to his will. This kind of submission – despite the fact that you are to do as you please – is called VULNERABILITY. Relinquishing control over your life without the promise that it will be easy. The only thing that God promises is that it will be the BEST for you. Best and Easy are 2 very different things that do not necessarily come together (in fact, they rarely do).
I have been living in China for some months now and I must say, this is really an experience in vulnerability. New job, new people to work with, new environment, living alone and most of all, not being able to speak, read or write the local language. To have somebody fill up forms for you in the hopes that she won’t put you in a compromising situation is the pinnacle of vulnerability for an adult. The last time I was like this was probably when I was two years old – when I couldn’t express what i wanted and I had no choice but to trust in the help of people around me. But imagine me – a former senior manager, used to being on top of things – suddenly in a situation that renders herself functionally illiterate. The first few weeks were rough. There are times when I feel regret, when I really tell myself that I should never have left home. There are times when I would wonder how different (or similar) life would be like if I had said no to this experience. There were times when out of sheer frustration, I would cry on my desk just because I feel so helpless and vulnerable. And there were times when I would ask God why he sent me here.
God doesn’t care how much you have – if it’s perfect or “good enough”. He just wants all… especially the broken pieces.
“I am breaking you apart because I am going to put you back together in a way that is according to my Will, in a way that is best for you,” he said. “But just like any change, it will take time. So my child, please be patient. This is what I want from you. This is what I need from you.”
For an overachiever like me, I am not one to put my brokenness and failures on God’s feet as an offering. But for the first time in my life, I did. After all, it was all that I could give. “God,” I said, “I don’t have much to offer to you right now. I am not helping a lot of people right now because I can’t even help myself. I am broken, sad, helpless and frustrated. I am not at my best. But this is all I have. Whatever broken pieces I have of myself, take all of it because the only thing that keeps me going is that I am following your Will. But right now this is where I am, and this is ALL I can offer.”
I remember the story about the Widow’s Mite in the bible from Mark 12: 41-44
The Widow’s Offering
41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.
43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”
There is something very profound about not having much but offering all to God. There is something about offering your suffering, pain and honesty and allowing yourself to be vulnerable for God’s Will. God doesn’t care how much you have – if it’s perfect or “good enough”. He just wants all… especially the broken pieces. He wants all of it, all of you. He wants your surrender, your faith and your trust. He wants all of the little that you have, and not much of what’s usually left over of a happy and successful life. And through this experience, I felt how much more I loved God and how much he loves me. Without the distraction of “too much”, and the simplicity of “not enough”, I can feel more fully the joy of fully offering ALL.
The Bible is full of stories like this. My favorite example is of course the story of Mary. Lots of non-Catholics question the way we honour her. What did she do, right? Did she evangelize to thousands of men? Did she cure any sick person? Or baptized anyone? Did she perform miracles? Did she die in honor of God? What about her life deserves this much recognition? What exactly did she accomplish?
Imagine if you were called to be the Mother of Jesus Christ, then later on watch your own Son die a horrible death, but not do anything in order to follow the will of God. I think as a human being, there is nothing more painful than to see your own child die in front of you, more painful than death itself. And yet, Mary obeyed. She offered everything – even the pain… especially the pain. Even if the account of her human life did not result to “achievements” and “accomplishments” she did bear the most gruesome pain any human person can go through for God. To a certain degree, more painful than Jesus’ own suffering! She was the best follower of God.
There is nothing wrong with success and offering it to God. But when the odds are against you, and you are left vulnerable and exposed.. will you follow him still? Will you have the courage and faith to trust in God’s plan? Will you rely not on your own understanding but in God’s wisdom?
Are you willing to be broken… all for the Glory of God?
[By Jean Madrid.]
Jean Madrid has been in the corporate world for 8 years, working as a Brand Manager. She is also a huge fan of the the Spiritual Exercises by St. Ignatius de Loyola and believes that at some point in our lives, we have to focus on nurturing our spirituality and developing a deeper relationship with God. She believes that life in the corporate world allows her to do that. So she writes about her experiences – as a working professional, a wife, and a new immigrant – and how she is able to find God in all things.