Worthy of Glory

September 10, 2019

“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power…” (Revelation 4:11, NIV 1984).

We had a terrible time getting his myelodysplasia under control. With the first cycle of decitabine he developed bleeding and sepsis. Now, he was seated before me, doing much better. “You know, those days in the hospital were good for me,” he said. “I just spent my time focused on the Lord. I never even turned on the television.” He then added, “I want all of this I’m going through to glorify God.”

What does it mean to glorify God?

Honestly, I’ve sometimes been bothered by the claim that glorifying God is our chief aim in life. Why does God need to hear the hyperbolic applause of humans, like some insecure monarch?

Fortunately, I am coming to understand that it is not God who needs to be glorified by us, but we who need to glorify God. God does not need glory. Glorifying God does indeed please Him, like the father who overhears his child describe how awesome his dad is. But God does not need anything. Glorifying God is necessary for us, the people God loves, because we become most like that which we glorify. Anyone who has had a fantastic mentor understands this. Just as we seek to become like our great mentors, when we glorify God for His qualities, we begin to change in the direction of those qualities.

And, while we are changing into His likeness, glorifying God brings us joy. On self-reflection, we realize that our most fulfilled times in life have been our moments of profound worship. Within that worship, as we glorify our Lord, we experience the greatest abundance this life can offer.

And glorifying God is not hyperbole. Glorifying God is simply God’s grandeur made public. As Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote, “The world is charged with the grandeur of God.” God’s desire to be glorified is not like a ruler seeking to be magnified beyond his or her true worth. With God, glory is simply describing God as He is. And whatever we say about Him will always be an understatement. When one tells another about the Grand Canyon, mere words cannot encompass the grandeur of the canyon…or the grandeur of the Creator of the canyon.

For those who are caught in the great struggles of life, glorifying God sets an upside-down world right-side up. As we glorify God, especially from within our suffering, we confirm our final outcome and realize that someday, when we sit at the feet of the One we glorify, “everything sad is going to come untrue” (as Sam said to Gandalf in The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien).

And finally, just like my patient above, glorifying God in our suffering portrays Jesus to the world more than anything else we can do.

Dear God,
Let me tell the world who You really are.

Al Weir, MD

Al Weir, MD

After leaving academic medicine, Dr. Weir served in private practice at the West Clinic in Memphis, Tennessee from 1991-2005 before joining the CMDA staff as Vice President of Campus & Community Ministries where he served for three years from 2005-2008. He is presently Professor of Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and Program Director for the Hematology/Oncology fellowship program. He is also President of Albanian Health Fund, an educational ministry to Albania where he has been serving for 20 years. He is the author of two books: When Your Doctor Has Bad News and Practice by the Book. Dr. Weir’s work has also been published in many medical journals and other publications. Al and his wife Becky live in Memphis, Tennessee, and they have three children and three grandchildren. Dr. Weir is currently serving on CMDA's Board of Trustees.