Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! – Psalm 115:1
Worry comes very easily for me. I suppose its part of the territory for an analytical thinker who takes things apart in their mind in order to understand them, and plan, and organize, and fix, and problem solve. I don’t think I’ve met anyone (yet) who is highly analytical and detailed, that doesn’t struggle with worry more than they probably should. However, that’s not really the worst part for me. Worry is bad enough, but worrying what someone else thinks about me or whether or not they think I’m worth some specific amount of effort or money – that in my mind, is the worst kind of worry there is. Worrying about what another person thinks of me or what they think I’m “worth” is worry about my own glory. That is self-exalting on more than one level! On the first level, the worry itself is saying that I am trying to do something on my own without God or without trusting the details to God. On another level, this kind of worry is somehow being so consumed with myself that I seek my own glory and am concerned with whether or not I will get it.
That is painful to admit and shocking to read myself type those words. I will readily admit I struggle with pride. But when I look at these words: worrying about my glory – that puts things in a more truthful context that is difficult to “run” or “hide” from. I know I’ve grown “comfortable” with the concept of pride because it kind of hides what’s really going on. All pride is based in seeking after one’s own glory, and what the scriptures tell us very plainly is that the only One who deserves any glory is God. Even more plainly, if anyone or anything else gets glory, that is idolatry.
When I was reading a devotion on this topic the other day, I happened to be putting myself through some heavy stress about work – trying to be and do all the right things and feeling frustrated that trying to make one person happy was making another unhappy. I was struggling (code for “worrying”) a lot with feelings of worth and un-successfulness and comparing myself to other people – just overall feeling very upset that I wasn’t better at my job, more loved, further along in my career, more respected – you know all those things that would be evidence of “glory”. So God, in His infinite wisdom and knowledge and with such gentle and gracious love, saw what my heart was struggling with. He knew that it wasn’t pretty, but not just because I was sad and stressed and lashing out at people. He knew that the ugly, not great part about all of it, was that I was blind to a much bigger problem, a much more dangerous, viral kind of problem: self-glorification. And He walked me, gently, into this verse and the study of it for a couple of days.
When I read the first part of this verse (which I have read many many times before) it was as if someone turned on the light and took a heavy weight off of my back. I didn’t get any answers to the questions I was asking about “Am I worth it?” and “Doesn’t anybody love or even like me?” and “Why in the world would anyone want me around? Don’t they want to fire me already?” But I didn’t get the answers to those questions because those were the wrong questions to ask. What I did receive is a reminder of the fact that first and most importantly, God Almighty is absolutely worth it and worth my time, energy, attention, and worship. In fact, He’s the only One worthy of all this praise, and love, and admiration, and I most certainly want Him around! The second really big thing I was reminded of is that this amazing, unmatched, wonderful, almighty God absolutely loves and likes me and thinks I’m worth His time and His purpose for me. This knowledge and understanding may be beyond my ability on my own to really fully grasp, but the fact doesn’t change that He does have a perfect, loving purpose and a fierce, no-strings-attached love for me and all of this (His purpose and love for me) is all for my own good and His glory. Not my good and my glory.
So this verse is a beautiful reminder to give all praise and glory and honor to Him who deserves it all. To our magnificent, loving, wonderful, almighty, creator God who’s glory is well earned, and who’s love is well given, all far beyond what I could earn in my own strength. To God be the glory, not to me and all that I’ve accomplished (which would never have been accomplished without so many things from Him), but to God be the glory. Great things He has done!