“Hallowed by thy name” I learned it growing up.
“May your name be praised.”
“Make your name famous,” maybe.
All right. That’s freaky? Why?
Think about it.
When was the last time that you heard God’s name praised because nothing happened? God’s name is praised when his will is done (we’ll get to that pretty soon).
He told Paul that his power was made perfect in Paul’s weakness, so Paul got to keep his thorn in the flesh instead of being miraculously freed of his burden.
His name is praised when more people come to believe in him, so people have to stick around and suffer rather than enjoying perfect health, happiness, and joy with him forever (another Paul moment).
His name is praised when he delivered Israel again and again from all of the hostile enemies around him. (NOTE: In order for this praise to happen, one gets to be surrounded by hostile enemies.)
His name is praised when the foulest of the foul are freed from sin and made fair. So his name being praised might mean I am asking for the chance to reach out to drug dealers, murderers, the uneducated, the unwashed, the lepers and tax collectors of our day. (So… what if God answers this prayer by having a child molester move in next door… and then you get to love your neighbor as yourself… I mean, his name could be GLORIFIED… and all things are possible with God. He can change anyone.)
But don’t we really want God to answer someone else’s prayer for God’s name to be glorified?
What if God glorifies me by giving me a terrible disease so that I can witness my joy to the people in the ICU?
What if God glorifies his name by having me wrongfully imprisoned, shipwrecked, bitten by poisonous snakes, put on trial for crimes I didn’t commit, driven into exile, or worse? What if he glorifies his name in me like he did Ezekiel, who was forbidden to cry when God killed his wife as a sign to help the message better. (I mean, God’s name will also be glorified on my lips when my aging parents get perfect, eternal bodies, but I don’t want that glory yet.)
What if his name is glorified in my martyrdom, my torture?
Sure… all of those things are sucky… But there is an even worse possibility here.
What if God’s name is glorified because of how he treats me when I fall? Who would pray that God’s grace be shown to be more powerful than their porn collection, their drug habit, their alcoholism, their theft, idolatry… (There is quite a list in 1 Corinthians Chapter 6).
What if God glorifies himself in me as he did in Job?
What if he is glorified in me when he calls me to follow him away from everything I have and love. What if he glorifies his name then?
What if God is glorified when I dedicate my life to something.
And keep going because the most important earthly thing, lost, still isn’t more important than Him, whom I can never lose? What if God shows that he is greater than my crushing grief, his eternal promise brighter than a life of sorrows, his upholding greater than a plot of Satan to destroy me, even if he doesn’t pull me out of it in this lifetime?
I am not saying that this is wrong. I am not saying that my role in life is not to humbly thank God for the strength to endure terrible things, for deliverance in this word, or if not in this world, the inexorable deliverance of the perfect eternal life to come.
Doesn’t Romans 8:18 basically say that our current sufferings aren’t worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us? Which young man on his wedding day looks back at the trials and embarassments of puberty, and face to face with his blushing young bride says, “MAN, that wasn’t worth it?”
Isn’t the opposite true?
The same is true for God’s glory.
But when I really think about this phrase in the Lord’s Prayer, when I try to understand what I’m asking…
A little voice in the back of my head does the roller-coaster scream of terror as I hand the Almighty the keys to the car and hang on for the ride…