“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us a glory that outweighs them all.” 2 Corinthians 4:17
One of the hardest letters for little children to pronounce is the letter l. It is even more difficult when it is part of a consonant blend like gl. Dropping the letter 1 makes for some funny words, like gad (for glad), gobe (for globe) or gitter (for glitter).
But my favorite is when a small child with a big smile sings loudly, “gory, gory, hallelujah!”
Isn’t it ironic that gory and glory are separated by just one, small letter l? One small letter stands between two words that couldn’t be more opposite in meaning.
Glory: resplendent beauty or magnificence; exaltation, praise or honor.
Gory: covered or stained with gore (murder, bloodshed, violence); bloody.
Is it possible that glory and gory are not so far apart? That in God’s hand gory turns into glory, and in God’s wisdom, glory allows for gore to be present?
Personally, the more I’ve tasted glory—glimpses of God’s goodness, the Holy Spirit’s presence, and the healing touch of Jesus—the more staggered I am by the deep veins of ongoing gore, my own and other’s, like…
Several months of inversion last year (smoke trapped by the mountains) that left me with no voice (an acute vocal chord infection) and a near constant severe allergy attack.
Life-shortening illness invading lives all around me.
A fountain of tears this spring, as losses kept flooding back…mom, dad, sister…and all the twists and turns before and after their deaths.
Dear friends who love God facing the death of spouses, the death of dreams, the death of a marriage.
Attacks from the accuser, like vicious dreams and a hissing bat (watch for the full story), who clearly wants me to give up.
What’s more, no sooner than something good comes, something else comes that makes me feel just a bit like Job… “He has stripped me of his glory and taken the crown from my head” (Job 19:9). Job thought it unfair that God stripped the letter l from his glory.
Later, Job laments that he wants to go back to the days when, “my glory and honor are fresh in me [being constantly renewed]…” (Job 29:20, Amplified). I hear you Job!
Like Job, we want to know why. Why the gore, God? When glory peeks through, why it is so fleeting? Why does it seem that other people get more good stuff than gore?
We can fill libraries with the books devoted to this subject, but I rather think God’s answer to our questions about pain is simple. Staggeringly simple.
By the the end of Eve’s Song, Eve finds a redemptive change in perspective, one that echoes what I’ve learned… “Jehovah, the glory far exceeds the pain.”
We know Jesus felt this way. “For the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2
Pain then glory.
Paul sensed this. “I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake, I have lost all things.” Philippians 3:8
Glory wedged in between loss.
Peter believed it. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests in you.” 1 Peter 3:14
After my first book, Secure in Heart, was released, a reviewer had some harsh words for me. (Yep, it felt personal.) She said something about my “pitiable life.” In other words, she pitied me for the gore called my story.
Now I’m thinking that perhaps she was a child in her view of suffering. She hadn’t learned to tell the difference between gory and glory. Her response to the book? Gory, gory! She was dropping the letter l.
If she would have only looked with God’s eyes, (and if I will see with God’s eyes), I’d like to think we might agree that the moments of deepest darkness in my life contained breathtaking light.
To see our stories in this light, we need each other. Telling each other our stories makes all the difference. In our stories we find the letter “l” that transforms gory into glory…the love, listening, luster, laughter, and most of all, the Lord.
This is not a place I’ve mastered, but rather a perspective I long for. So, here’s my plan.
The next time pain rolls in like a wave, and leaves me with a mouthful of sand and scrapes from being drug along the bottom, and I blurt out, “gory, gory,” then I’ll catch myself, and follow it with a hallelujah.
And if I can’t muster up the hallelujah, I’ll call a friend, and let her soothe my soul with her own stories. And as we laugh and cry together, we’ll remember, “Jehovah, the glory far exceeds the pain.”
And just maybe, with practice, when pain comes knocking again, I’ll choke out through a veil of tears and a heart of assurance…
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
It’s your turn…
How about you? What about your life is gory? How might God be working to change your gory into glory?