Squeeze the Sponge

by Jennifer Slattery @JenSlattery

Now is the Son glorified and God is glorified in Him. If God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify the Son in Himself, and will glorify Him at once.” John 13:31

We’ve all encountered someone who later turned out to be much different than we originally thought. Maybe they presented as the perfect, compassionate friend only to turn on us when we didn’t meet their expectations. Or perhaps the opposite occurred, and we assumed someone was shallow or selfish or irresponsible, only to discover, when life became hard, they showed themselves to be steady, present, and unshakable.

It’s so easy to misjudge someone and tempting to assign selfish motives or ill intent. For years, I did this to my husband, and it nearly destroyed our marriage. He and I are different in so many ways, including how we receive and express love. I’m a “quality time” person who measures the health of our relationship based on the depth of our conversations. He’s a provider and protector at heart, who will spend hours if not days searching for that perfect gift and earning the income to provide it.

Not being a “gift” person, I not only didn’t appreciate this, but in my misunderstanding, I completely misjudged his motives. I assumed he loved his job more than my daughter and I and was merely buying us gifts to appease us. But when we went through a difficult financial period, I watched him sacrifice time, energy, sleep—everything—for us. I’ve now seen this again and again. When times become difficult, his inner hero emerges, and I lose all doubt regarding the depth of his love.

When times get tough, we see what people are made of. As a former publishing colleague once put it, “Squeeze a sponge, and what’s inside comes out.” Likely we can all attest to the truth in that statement, not just in regard to others, but in relation to Christ as well.

In the same way, my view of God has shifted over the years. The better I know Him, the clearer His heart becomes to me. Through difficulties, upheavals, and uncertainties, He’s revealed my misconceptions and allowed my falsehoods to surface, so that my heart can become more deeply anchored in truth. When it felt as if my world were spinning out of control, He held me and worked the chaos into good. When it seemed as if everyone else had abandoned me, He remained and drew me close. When bitterness welled within and even my prayers turned angry, He spoke words of love to my breaking heart.

Through hard times and good, God has proved that His love and faithfulness are beyond anything I ever imagined. But He’s revealed Himself most clearly through the cross. Shortly before His death, Jesus told His disciples what was ahead. He said it would all be very revealing: “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him” (John 13:31 NASB). To glorify is to make the worth of someone clear or understood. The cross glorified Christ “in two ways. It was the revelation of His heart; it was the throne of His sovereign power” (MacLaren’s Expositions of Holy Scripture).

On the cross, we see Jesus’s unchanging nature: the self-sacrificing God who loves His children fiercely and will stop at nothing to draw us close. In His resurrection, we see His sovereignty over death and sin.

To put it simply, Jesus showed who He truly is and the depth of His love through sacrifice.

And as His follower, I must do the same.

Squeeze the Sponge – encouragement from @JenSlattery on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Jennifer SlatteryAbout the author:  Jennifer Slattery is a writer and speaker who’s addressed women’s groups, church groups, Bible studies, and writers across the nation. She’s the author of Hometown Healing and numerous other titles and maintains a devotional blog at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she and her team love to help women discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. Visit her online to find out more about her speaking or to book her for your next women’s event, and sign up for her free quarterly newsletter HERE to learn of her future appearances, projects, and releases.Intentional Holidays: Finding Peace in the Prince of Peace by [Ministries, Wholly Loved]

This holiday season, with Intentional Holidays: 30 Reflections for Rest and Peace, Jennifer invites us to hit pause in the middle of our crazy, beautiful, and not-so-glamorous moments to experience Immanuel, God with us. No matter how busy our days, fragmented our minds, disrupted our plans, or frazzled our hearts, God beckons us to draw near so that we can live filled and refilled.

Join the conversation: How has God revealed Himself to you lately?

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