but he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. [acts 7:55]
the Holy Spirit allows us to see God’s glory.
i don’t know that we can ever understand the depth of this truth. all of the wondrous and unfathomable plans that God is working out in order to bring humanity, broken and rebellious, to a place where they can see him as he truly is, great and glorious, awesome in power, beautiful beyond comprehension.
clouds and thick darkness are all around him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne. fire goes before him and burns up his adversaries all around. his lightnings light up the world; the earth sees and trembles. the mountains melt like wax before the Lord, before the Lord of all the earth. the heavens proclaim his righteousness, and all the peoples see his glory. [psalm 97:2-6]
stephen was given this very special moment because God knew it was exactly what he needed at that moment. he was about to undergo severe persecution, even to the point of death. but, filled with the Holy Spirit, the greatness of the presence of the glory of God was enough to sustain him to the end. as a child of God, indwelt by the same Holy Spirit, does the greatness of the glory of God’s presence sustain you in times of hardship? does it fill you with worship in times of joy? does it build you up in strength and perseverance when you need to press on? does it still your heart in moments of anxiousness? does it quiet your inner voice when it rises up in pride? or do you find your strength and peace and perseverance in something else?
although with our eyes we may not see heaven opened up, as stephen did, we are promised all of these same blessings of God’s presence. he is with you now, working in you now, building you up, sustaining you, quieting you, to give you steadfastness to the end. believe it! acknowledge it! thank him for it!\
to walk in the Spirit means to be aware of, submit to, and cling to the power of his presence. and just as it was enough for stephen, it is enough for you.
Father, thank you for moving heaven and earth so that i might be in your glorious presence, satisfied by your love, filled with your Spirit, and welcomed by my Great High Priest, Jesus Christ. help me to cling to the power of your presence. keep me faithful to the end, steadfast and immovable, with my eyes fixed only on your majestic glory. amen.
~ arwen eastman