With God, the Impossible Is Possible
The word “glory” appears throughout the Bible. It is a rich word, with different applications and layers of meaning. For example, Scripture uses “glory” to describe honor, wealth, and power – like the glory of a king or a person held in high esteem.
But Scripture also uses “glory” to signify God’s manifest – or tangible – presence. Often these references describe a personal encounter with God when His glorious presence moves from the spiritual realm into the earthly realm. During such an encounter, people experience God’s glory with one or more of their five natural senses: sight, sound, taste, touch, or smell.
Does this mean we can experience God the same way? Yes!
Throughout both Testaments, the Bible gives examples of ordinary people physically encountering God in their natural worlds. During Israel’s journey in the wilderness, for example, about two million people saw God’s glory with their eyes. It appeared as a pillar of cloud by day, and pillar of fire by night. This was no emotional, imaginary experience. Nor was it a symbolic, literary invention. The people actually saw the cloud by day. They saw the fire by night. And the children born in the wilderness during this time grew up without thinking that such visible glory was something out of the ordinary!
Moses saw and experienced the same holy fire when he stood before the burning bush (Exod 3:1-6). God spoke to him there, and even told him, “Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground” (Exod 3:5, NKJV). Moses’ experience of God’s visible, holy fire was similar to Isaiah’s (Isa 6:1-7). For the Bible says, “he was afraid to look upon God” (Exod 3:6, NKJV).
Another example of the Lord’s manifest glory occurred on the Day of Pentecost. The disciples heard and saw God’s glory as the Holy Spirit came upon them.
“And suddenly there came a sound from heaven [they could physically hear], as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them [they could physically see] divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them” (Acts 2:2-3, NKJV).
The miracles of Jesus were also manifestations of God’s glory. They were heavenly invasions impacting people in ways they could experience with their natural senses.
For example, John tells the story of Jesus’ first miracle at a wedding in Cana (John 2:1-11). Something happened that would have been terribly embarrassing for the host family – they ran out of wine! Mary, the mother of Jesus, entreated her Son to intervene. Jesus then commanded the servants to take six large water pots – each one capable of holding 20 to 30 gallons – and fill them with water. After the servants filled them to the brim, the master of the feast tested the water. To his utter amazement, it had become the finest of wine. John explained the miracle this way: “This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him” (John 2:11, NKJV).
God’s glory invaded the earth when, at an ordinary wedding, Jesus changed six pots of water into the finest, most exquisite wine.
Acts 4 gives another account of God’s tangible glory. The early church was praying for courage to preach the gospel in the face of persecution, and to see powerful demonstrations of the Holy Spirit through signs and wonders. The Bible says, “And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31, NKJV).
These people had already been filled with the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. But later when they prayed for boldness to preach the gospel without compromise, the glory of God again came with tangible signs. He filled the place with such power that even the physical building where they had gathered was shaken! Heaven invaded the house!
In the next chapter, we read about the strong measure of glory resting on Peter:
“And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them. Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed” (Acts 5:14-16, NKJV).
How incredible that God would make His power available to His people this way. We could walk in such a measure of His manifest glory, that sickness or demonic power would vanish in our presence the way a snowball would melt under the blue flame of a welder’s torch! And that is actually what God desires: His glorious power resting on us to liberate people’s souls and magnify the Gospel message.
Experiencing the Gospel
So God – in all His glorious splendor – does move into the realm of human existence. People can actually experience Him in this world. I believe that people everywhere long to be touched by God in a tangible way. A lost and dying world longs to see the Gospel, experience the Gospel and be touched and healed by the power of the Gospel. The Gospel must not come to people as a mere explanation that requires an experience. Rather, the Gospel should create an experience that requires an explanation! The Gospel must be a life-altering encounter.
The Bible is full of accounts of how God demonstrates His glory through history. Some people think these are fictional stories, passed down to entertain us or teach us moral lessons through allegory. But they are wrong. Others believe the stories are true, but God no longer operates the same way today. They are also wrong. Biblical testimonies are powerful examples of the way God intends to move on earth at all times – yesterday, today, and forever.
With God, the supernatural is natural and the impossible is possible. Christianity is intended to be a supernatural life from beginning to end. The demonstration of God’s power should be the norm.
I pray this will increasingly become reality in your life. Don’t give up! Reach out toward God’s presence. Nothing is more rewarding in this world for any of us.