We have that phrase memorized: “…that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” I remember teaching the Declaration of Independence to my middle school students and explaining that the right to pursue happiness does not give us a license to do whatever we want at the expense of someone else’s rights. It does mean that we have the right to seek a fulfilled life and experience the freedom that is ours as citizens of a great nation. That freedom might look differently than what we would expect.
I have observed how much I struggle to keep myself in front and center – even in my spiritual life. My prayers focus on me or matters concerning those closest to me:
“Give me wisdom (or strength or peace or joy)”
And in the midst of the trials, whether they be minor irritants or major suffering my attention is on how they are affecting me and diminishing my personal comfort. It is natural for a human to be aware of himself above all; it defines the Christian to seek God glorified above all.
The Christian will find ultimate freedom in seeking Christ’s interest before his own. Since my heart has been enlightened to this truth I have been actively raising my gaze heavenward when the demands of the temporal clamor loudest.
When I am fatigued and don’t know if I’ll last through the day I seek God glorified.
When my back is aching and there’s still dinner to prepare I seek God glorified.
When my husband and I see differently on an issue I seek God glorified.
When 5 of my 5 children are screaming or being defiant all at once I seek God glorified.
When the two-year old needs to be potty-trained I seek God glorified.
When my tongue yearns to criticize or judge I seek God glorified.
When the future is overwhelming I seek God glorified.
When I’ve been hurt and bitterness beckons I seek God glorified.
God provides the storm and God provides the blessing. Our prayer in the heart of the storm should not be for it to abate but for God to be glorified in how we weather it. The blessing comes not when the storm is over but in how our conduct throughout the storm brought praise and glory to our God.
How gloriously freeing to no longer consider myself in this life but in all things to pursue God glorified!