Readers Write: Glory

December 17, 2019

We asked readers to submit brief reflections on words associated with Advent. Below is a response on the word “glory.”

by the Rev. Kadia A. Edwards

“It is disheartening when you spend all your life growing up in a city that you no longer recognize at night because everything is gone. Nothing is where it used to be.” These are the words of one of the many Panama City, Fla., residents who continues to be affected by Hurricane Michael, which made landfall on Oct. 10, 2018. 

Last month, I traveled to Panama City and was rendered speechless by the evidence of devastation from Hurricane Michael. Gone are many of the homes, churches, schools and businesses that once existed in this close-knit community. There are many homes without functioning roofs to provide shelter for residents, businesses that are no longer operational, schools without the impressionable minds of students ready to learn, and churches without people. It is difficult to be in Panama City and not see the scattered experience of its residents.

As I journeyed through the city, I came across a sign in front of what was once a home. It read: “To God Be the Glory.” Truthfully, the sign seemed quite out of place. I was initially offended that someone would dare put this sign in this community, knowing that there are people who remain displaced, while many others are left financially challenged as they try to determine next steps.

As I spent the last few weeks pondering the reason that I was so troubled by the sign, I realized that giving glory to God is not the usual way I respond in times of trial and tribulation. How is it that this family could give God the glory when their home was dismantled? What about their current circumstance feels glorious? Nonetheless, this family reminds sign readers that God deserves the glory despite our circumstances or feelings.    

This holiday season, I choose to carry the message of this sign with me. For some people, the holidays can bring about anxiety and frustration. For others, it’s a time of grief and loneliness, as they remember loved ones who are no longer here. During these times, it’s easy to focus on what is going wrong, rather than choosing to give God the Glory. But God is deserving of our worship in all situations. I invite you this holiday to set aside moments to join me and the people of Panama City as we give God the Glory!    

The Rev. Kadia A. Edwards is American Baptist Home Mission Societies’ national coordinator of Volunteer-mobilization and Disaster-response Ministries.

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