For the past 48 hours, I have not been able to give this concept up. It’s been haunting me; challenging me; pushing me; nudging me. Likewise, I’ve been trying to avoid it; let it lie; push it to the side. But no matter what I do, I can’t stop contemplating about these three simple words.
As I was praying on Monday, I had asked that God would restore something or someone to their former glory. As I was doing so, I received a fairly strong response and reprimand for my prayer. First off the response I got was, “no.” Secondly, when I heard the response I tilted my head ever so slightly like a dog trying to figure out what was going on.
I had never heard a direct “no” ever when I was praying, so I felt quite stupefied. My response was, “…okay…so…what don’t I understand…what did I miss?” I forget that He answers prayers giving either a “yes” or “no”; there’s never a guaranteed “yes”. I’m not sure that I was prepared for the response that I got. It was rather humbling for me, not that I was embarrassed, but the revelation was just so powerful into the character of God, that I just felt very humbled, like a child learning to ride a bike…I didn’t realize I needed to keep peddling.
The answer I got went something like the following, “Justin, I’m not in the ‘restoring to former glory’ business. I’m in the ‘glory to glory’ business. Things will never be as they once were. New wine skins are required for new wine. I take things from glory to glory because that’s what I do. Look, I am making all things new. When you receive your resurrected body, it won’t be a body restored to its former glory, but a new creation, like so many things. I don't want the current church to return to infant stages of the New Testament church. When I come back, neither Eden nor Jerusalem will be restored, they will be made new.”
This statement is what has been haunting me over the past couple of days. The glory days, the days of old, may have been glorious at the time…but they are no longer are. Glory to Glory now has a totally new meaning for me. It’s a focus on the future, on things to come, on promises, on new things, glorious things. It’s not a focus on the things of old, a return to Egypt, deceivingly better days, or greener pastures.
What I learned 48 hours ago was that we must dutifully be progressively moving forward. No turning back, no restoration, no re-starts…only redemption, glory, and a finish line await.