Order Disorder Reorder Part 3: Reorder

Day 2 of 7 • This day’s reading


Glory Days

I love the way the two different uses of “glory” play together in these verses, (especially when you read them in the King James Version). It got me thinking about how we tend to think of the phrase "glory days" as a charmed time in our life when everything was ideal and as it "ought" to be.

But it's so often in the hard times that God gets his best work done in me. I wondered: what if my glory days are actually the days of trouble and struggle that God uses to transform me, “from glory to glory?” (2nd Cor 3:18 KJV)

I began to notice that the most productive times with my spiritual mentor were when I was having a rough day. I’m more receptive and teachable on those days than on the days when I'm feeling up and on top of things. It seems it takes pain and difficulty to crack me open enough to get access to the parts of me that need to be worked on.

“Pain teaches a most counterintuitive thing—that we must go down before we even know what up is,” says (the sometimes controversial) Richard Rohr. Watchman Nee wrote that, “a lowly person is a teachable person… Many of our spirits are too arrogant: they can teach others but can never themselves be taught. Many possess a stubborn spirit: they stick to their opinions even if they realize they are wrong.” Poet Rainer Maria Rilke says it another way in his poem The Man Watching:

“What we choose to fight is so tiny!

What fights with us is so great…

When we win it's with small things,

and the triumph itself makes us small.

What is extraordinary and eternal

does not want to be bent by us…

I mean the Angel who appeared

to the wrestlers of the Old Testament…

Whoever was beaten by this Angel… 

went away proud and strengthened

and great from that harsh hand, 

that kneaded him as if to change his shape. 

Winning does not tempt that man. 

This is how he grows: by being defeated, decisively, 

by constantly greater beings.”

Rohr goes on to say that, “Suffering of some sort seems to be the only thing strong enough to destabilize our arrogance and ignorance.” 

The good news is that our suffering is exactly where the love of God meets us! I find myself feeling a quiet anticipation on the days when I’m feeling lowly and broken-hearted, because I know those are especially good days for God to do his best work in me: moving me from glory to glory, making me more of the person I most want to be—someone who looks a little more like Jesus every day.

This is why I can glory in my sufferings—no longer afraid or avoidant of them, but ready to receive the gifts they offer: strength, wisdom, and new life. I love this quote from Nassim Nicholas Taleb: “Wind extinguishes a candle and energizes fire. Likewise with randomness, uncertainty, chaos: you want to use them, not hide from them. You want to be the fire and wish for the wind."

Or as theologian Charles Spurgeon wrote, “I have learned to kiss the waves that throw me up against the Rock of Ages”