“Lord, make me see thy glory in every place.” So wrote Michaelangelo, one of the most gifted and renowned artists in human history. While there is a great deal of speculation regarding Michaelangelo’s spirituality, sexuality, and even morality, there appears to be no doubt that he was blessed with an awesome God-gift. And, he got one thing right: Michaelangelo recognized that God’s glory was everywhere and that he needed God’s help to see it. And arguably, God answered Michaelangelo’s request. As Michaelangelo saw, so he painted, sculpted, and designed. We are the beneficiaries of Michaelangelo’s God-given gift and God-given sight, as we admire the Cistine Chapel, The Pieta, St. Peter’s Basilica, and The David, among others.
It is easy for us to understand that an artist needs to see God’s glory. A photographer friend of mine once observed that the great photographers weren’t so much skilled with the technical elements of a camera as they were gifted in seeing the “special” in what they saw, and then capturing it with a camera so that the image could be shared with others.
But what about us “regular” folks? Most of us are not artists. It may seem to matter little in our day-to-day existence if we see God’s glory or not. We are often too busy or too tired to care. I will admit that I view some days and some tasks as unlikely candidates for “glory sightings.” I have come to the conclusion, though, that this is a short-sighted attitude that disappoints the Lord of glory who attends our every move and indeed, who lives within us. It also dims our joy and limits our capacity to pursue the Biblical mandates of encouraging one another and proclaiming the Gospel. If we do not see God’s glory, we simply will lack the fuel to effectively participate in God’s redeeming work in us, among us, and through us.
I am not saying that every circumstance, event, situation, conversation, etc. is a glorious experience. We are fallen people living in a fallen world, and much of our life experience is tainted with sin, pain, frustration, and loss. These are most definitely not glorious. But as God is present in us and in our world, so is His glory. I believe that it is worth seeking. Encountering God’s glory invites us to leave the confines of our own perspective and take a “joy ride” with God. It gives us reason to praise and motivation to share. It helps us to make our faith a verb and not merely a noun.
I think we would do well to make Michaelangelo’s words our own before God. If we believe that God’s glory is everywhere, let us ask our Lord and Master to reveal that glory to us. Spring is coming, and God’s glory will be evident in nature. That is worth celebrating and sharing. But let us not stop there. Since we humans are God’s image-bearers, His glory is in each of us. Jesus has taught us that in order to see that glory we need faith: “Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” (Jn. 11:40). Although Jesus is in this passage encouraging Martha just before He raised Lazarus, the principle has a much broader application. May we in faith ask God to reveal to us His glory in one another and then encourage and bless others and preach the Gospel with integrity and honesty.
I suspect that none of us is destined to be a Michaelangelo or an Ansel Adams. We can, however, ask God to reveal His glory to us and then “capture” that image in our minds to share with others. An encouraged heart or a soul committed to Christ is even more glorious than the Cistine Chapel.