All Glory to God

1:54 PM

"Lord, please let me make it to semis, and if not that, at least Game Show."  A feeling of shock came over me.  Had I really just asked God for this?  Now the request itself is not so bad as the attitude it came with.  I wanted to be praised.  I wanted to be noticed.  I wanted to be congratulated.  Tears immediately came to my eyes as I realized this.  I sank down on a beanbag and picked up a Bible.  I turned to one of my memory passages, 1 Corinthians 10:31.  "So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."  Was I doing this to the glory of God?  No, I knew I was not.  I spent some time asking God to give me a desire for Him to be glorified.  From that day forward, I felt that I would be in semis.  After all, now that I wanted to glorify God, wouldn't semi-finals be the perfect opportunity?  And if I made it to finals, this would be a great story to tell in my interview, along with all those other great things I've been wanting to say about the Bible Bee.

A little over a month later, I was at Nationals.  I made some bad mistakes in orals, but I still clung to the hope that I would be in semis.  I sure did want that great platform to glorify God!  But when the Game Show contestants and semi-finalists were called, I wasn't.  This is one of those things that it took me awhile to figure out.  It wasn't until a year later that I began to see some of the reasons.  

I arrived at Nationals 2015 feeling pretty confident.  I mean, I felt confident that I would not be in semis.  This was great.  I really felt so much peace, because the thought of making it to semis pretty much never occurred to me...until I saw my written test score and freaked out.  There was actually a possibility that I had advanced.  I tried not to allow myself to believe it, but I could no longer completely rule out semi-finals.  That evening, I found out that I had indeed advanced.  I was shocked.  I still am.  What was I doing in Senior semi-finals?  I was supposed to be in Junior semis last year, and now here I am competing with some people that I call "Bible Bee celebrities."  It was surreal.  But there was one thing that stuck with me throughout the competition: I didn't deserve this.  I need to give all glory to God.  I may not feel like I'm supposed to be here, but since I am, I need to honor the Lord.  He put me in semis for a reason. 

Now things began to come into perspective.  I realized that I had been looking for my own method of glorifying God when I had wanted to be in semis.  And again in Seniors, semis hadn't been a way that I was anticipating honoring the Lord.  I saw for the first time that it was so good that I hadn't made it to semis in 2014.  If I had, I would've felt that I deserved it, and it would have been much less natural to glorify God.  But now in Senior semis, the Lord kept revealing to me that it was His grace alone that had allowed me to advance.  I'm sure that I wasn't always as faithful to praise Him as I should've been, but it was definitely easy to.  His goodness was very clear to me.

It's easy to tell you about the great things that God has done in the past -- how He worked through something that was very hard to begin to teach me that I can't do anything on my own.  It's much, much harder to talk about what is going on right now.  The fourth paragraph of this post is not the end of the story.  Two weeks from now, the semi-finalists will be announced.  I will not lie to you and tell you that I don't care a bit.  I care much more than I ever have before.  I've seen a very competitive side develop in me over the past two years which I never saw before.  Ah, for the days of yesteryear when I laughed over my mistakes in learning to read!  It will be hard if I don't make it to semis.  I will probably shed some tears, and need to spend lots of time talking to God about it.  But the Lord is teaching me that the important thing is that I glorify Him.

So what does glorifying God look like in practical terms?  Obviously, if we make it to semis or finals, we can tell others about all the grace that God poured out on us during studying for and competing in the Bible Bee.  But when we don't do as well as we had hoped, it's a bit harder.  I think that honoring the Lord would look something like what John Piper says: "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him."  When we find our complete satisfaction in Him, trusting that He is always good, He will be glorified.  With Job may we say, "The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." (Job 1:21)

Whatever happens, we need to remember that none of us deserve praise -- not even that person you know who's really good at their verses.  Ultimately, they are only good at it because God gave them the talent.  Definitely still encourage and congratulate each other, but remember to keep Christ as the focal point.  So whether you are first or last, do it all to the glory of God!  And please remind the rest of us to trust in God.  It's easy to talk about, but hard to remember and really bank on when you're in the middle of something.  We need to hold each other accountable in this. 

There's much more that I would love to share with y'all, but it really just wouldn't all fit into one blog post.  Maybe someday I will get around to sharing the loads of things that the Lord has been teaching me.  I can tell that I'm not perfect, because He is still doing so much work on me!

"All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies."
Psalm 25:10

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  1. Thank you, Anna! I really needed this reminder today! Thank you for sharing your story of how God taught you-that's amazing! He does work in amazing ways!!! Can't wait to see you!!! (I don't remember how many days. I'm using my brain power for other things:)

  2. Wow, I needed to hear that. Thanks for reminding us Anna! -Esther

  3. Thank you so, so much for sharing this, Anna! What a beautiful testimony! I desperately needed to hear that - it's something I've been struggling with the past couple days (yet again!).

  4. Thank you, Anna! This was a much needed reminder! Your honesty and desire to glorify God is an inspiration! Keep up the good work! See you soon! ~Kaitlyn

  5. Thanks for sharing + being so transparent Anna! I love your huge heart for Jesus! Can't wait to meet you!!!


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