God of all the infinite heavens,
of limitless stretches, of extreme precision,
of lush wonderlands, of wanwoods leafmeal,
of pied beauty and dear freshness deep down things,
of glory that oozes out whether we see it or not,
of eagle’s wings and a hen’s caring warmth,
of kindness and wisdom and understanding past all of the extent of our knowledge,
of dreams and visions and bravery even when we’re deeply scared and our hearts turn to flesh.
These days, I’m wondering what it means to give praise to you
and bring glory to your name –
for your name, dear Lord, is great, and what insignificant accomplishment,
what scratch in the structure of the universe,
what desperate flailing to make a mark in the framework of fate would matter to a God as great as you?
Someone once said, “Saying that I will bring glory to God could easily be a flash of arrogance.
After all, what can we do that would really bring glory to Him?”
And on the brink of college, with so many things I’m eager to learn –
about oceans, identity, philosophy, mathematics, visual culture, creative writing –
will any of it bring me any closer to the truth?
I always thought studying would help me know you better
(finding your infinity in the soaring arches of mathematical graphs,
sketching the intimate warmth of your world in my drawings,
expressing your beauty through carefully crafted words that might do anything near justice to you).
But the thought that all of this is really very insignificant,
that it cannot bring you glory, makes my heart fail within me.
It is true, dear Lord, that knowledge is not the same as wisdom.
It is true that studying might not reveal you in the same way as your Scripture,
or praising you through song. But isn’t the world also your handicraft?
And isn’t studying the book of nature and humankind around me also a way to understand you better?
I have understood, this year,
how easily my dreams and ambitions can take precedence
over the purity of my wish to give praise to you.
I hope my motives in studies are not clouded by similar motives of idolatry or pride as well.
Please guide me, God, so that my heart can be fixed in the right place,
so that my life may please you and bring you glory.
Whether through my studies, or the time I spend in church, or in worship,
or by praying by myself in quiet rooms,
let me bring you praise.
Lord, lift me out of the dust,
and make me shine in your image,
let me, lowly as I am,
bring you glory.