A Sudden Glory, Book Review

A Sudden Glory: God’s Lavish Response to Your Ache for Something More
by Sharon Jaynes

Fix breakfast for your kids.  Wash the dishes.  Supervise teeth brushing, comb hair, plant kisses.  Buy groceries.  Pay bills.  Drive to work, drive home.  Cook dinner.  Do Bible study.  Answer suddenglory2emails.  Pray and go to bed.

The daily drag of life can sometimes weigh us down. More than that, it can blind us to God’s glory.  That’s what Sharon Jaynes is writing about in this book–the reminder to be alert for God, to press in to Him and long for His presence.

Even when we’re doing everything right, we can still miss out on the intimacy and elaborate grace God intends for us.  We long for something more; maybe it’s a need we can’t even identify, but we still we feel it.  So we DO what we are supposed to do.  Yet, she writes: “Rather than ask God what he wants from us, we need to ask Him what He wants for us” ( pg.9).

Sharon Jaynes has written a beautiful, inspiring, challenging, encouraging and very real book, perfect for the individual to read and for a group setting (study guide included).  She shares out of her own personal pain, the times she was angry at God and the times when His plans weren’t her own.  This openness makes her writing even more compelling because life doesn’t always go how any of us expect.  Most of us have been there, crying, disappointed, upset with God, desperately hurting, and we need the testimony of someone who’s walked through that and seen God glorified.

I’ve so often heard messages on this topic that remain frustratingly simplistic and superficial.  They go something like this:  We long for something more.  We know Jesus better.  We feel better.  Amen.

Even those of us walking with Jesus so closely, though, will still feel a longing for more, a sense of incompleteness.  Sometimes pastors and teachers ignore that, giving pat answers, cliched lessons, and leaving us all unsatisfied as to why we’re still longing when we’ve done everything they’ve said.

The fact is that as long as we are on this side of heaven, we will never be truly filled.  The closer we walk with God, the more satisfied we will be, but the more we will be reminded of the beauty of heaven when nothing will cloud our vision, when nothing remains hidden or unanswered.  When we see Jesus face to face, that’s when our deepest longings will truly be satisfied.  Sharon Jaynes avoids all of the pitfalls of over-simplification here and gives us the hope of heaven.

But she also gives us hope for the meantime while we wait here in this earthly place.  We live in obedience, in worship, in gratitude, in communion with our God and He draws us close, giving us glimpses of heaven—glimpses of His glory.  That’s how He responds to our ache for something more and it’s glorious.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

I Want More

I wanted to walk.

I needed to do other things.

In the 40 minutes between the “Amen” at the end of prayer group and the moment I had to pick up my little one from preschool, I should have been reading, prepping, writing, practicing, answering and completing.

I did, after all, have a to-do list to follow!  Things to check off!  Tasks to accomplish!

Still, I wanted to walk.

It was a warm day, the kind of slightly humid warm of a morning before an afternoon storm.  The clouds hadn’t yet blocked the sun and the cooling wind cut through the sticky heat, carrying scents of fall.

It was lovely.

So, down the Main Street of our town I strolled, wearing ballet flats instead of walking shoes—a reminder of the whimsicality of the moment.

I passed houses with mums dotting the gardens and azaleas in final bloom along the path and business with window displays of colored leaves and pumpkins.

At first, I thought about that dreaded list, the tasks I was leaving undone.  I was problem-solving and planning and mentally re-arranging my day.

But then I noticed the sound of the breeze, how the wind tossing about the leaves in the trees sang a constant hum.

And I saw the acorns scattered along the path and piled into the grass, the wind’s gift to squirrels looking for easy pickings.

And I watched as the clouds didn’t just mosey almost imperceptibly across the sky.  No, they were running and dancing past my eyes, pushed along by the breeze.

My walk was about finding more.

But those times never last forever.  I too quickly returned to the schedule and the to-do list, still wishing for more of something undefinable, indescribable, and impossible to cram into a word from a dictionary.

We talk a lot about what it means to desire more in life.

We say we’ve all been designed with a God-shaped hole.  While we try to fill that void with stuff and with sin, relationships and success, it’s only God who can ever satisfy.  Everything else results in a bottomless pit of emptiness.

That’s true.

And we talk about what it means as Christians to long for more.

How we need to put aside the busyness of religion and pursue relationship with Jesus.  How we must shun the sin that prevents intimacy with God.  And until He’s fully Lord of our lives and we’re walking with Him closely, not just day by day, but moment by moment, we’ll always feel poured out and never filled.

That’s true, too.

We sang it in worship this Sunday morning, “All of You is more than enough for all of me, for every thirst and every need.  You satisfy me with Your love.”

So, what’s wrong with me?  Why, after all of that, can I still feel the longing?

Not for more money or possessions, fame or success, love or attention.

For more Jesus.

So often our typical lessons on this issue follow the same trite pattern.

You want more.
You get rid of sin.
You draw closer to God.
You feel better.

Like that’s as far as it goes.

Is God enough for us, enough to fully satisfy the deepest, most cavernous longing of our heart and souls?

Yes, He absolutely is.

Do sin and busyness choke us and keep us from being satisfied in Christ?

Yes, they absolutely do.

But even then, don’t you feel it–the insatiable groaning in your soul for something more than we can ever find in the here and now of life on earth?

C.S. Lewis wrote:

“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world” (Mere Christianity)

This incessant longing, even in the moments of greatest intimacy with Christ, even on quiet walks with Jesus on lovely fall days, doesn’t mean God isn’t enough.

It just means that we were:

“made for eternity, for glory, and as long as your feet are here on this earth, you will experience a glory ache that only heaven can fully satisfy”  (Sharon Jaynes, A Sudden Glory: God’s Lavish Response to Your Ache for Something More, p. 192).

God designed us not for this life, but for the ever after life with Him.  Ecclesiastes tells us: “He has also set eternity in the human heart” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

When we see Jesus face to face and the physical realities of this world, the death and sin about us, the crushing grind of the daily, when all that is gone and it’s just our Savior and us and it’s forever . . . then we will be satisfied, fully drenched and totally filled.

Until then, we bring our longing for more to Jesus and let Him whisper to us about heaven and of what awaits us there.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King