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No Gory, No Glory

“There is no way you can get to the glory without going through the gory.”  I came across this quote while I was studying 1 Corinthians 4:7-8.  I wrote it down and it just won’t leave me alone.  Everyone loves the glory.  Everyone seeks the glory.  Yet, how many of us are willing to live into and through the gory?  How many of us are willing to be who we need to be, and do what we need to do, in order to experience the glory?

There is all kinds of gory going on right now.  We have the pandemic and the resulting hardship that we are all feeling in some way, shape or form.  Whether it is someone who is unable to rejoin public life because of an underlying medical condition.  Someone who has lost a job because of the shutdown.  Someone who has lost a loved one because of this awful virus.  Or someone who is sick right now.  Nobody is immune to the gory that has been present in our world for the last few months.  “There is no way you can get to the glory without going through the gory.”

There is the death of George Floyd and the subsequent protests and riots that have sprung up, not only around our country, but around the world.  Scenes of looting, combined with scenes of people of all colors coming together in solidarity.  Scenes of police cars being vandalized and police stations being burnt down, combined with scenes of police officers and demonstrators holding hands and seeking justice for all.  Scenes of people marching to bring about change, combined with scenes of people breaking into businesses in order to steal change.  “There is no way you can get to the glory without going through the gory.”

There are women who are being beaten by their husbands.  There are children that are sleeping on the street.  There are men who are losing the battle of addiction at this very moment.  There are animal species that are going extinct.  There is a hole in our ozone above the North Pole.  There are also women who are standing up for themselves, finding help and finding freedom.  There are children who are being loved and cared for by healthy families.  There are men who are defeating their demons and overcoming their addictions.  There are animal species that are being saved.  And there are scientific breakthroughs that are helping to roll back our carbon footprint.  “There is no way you can get to the glory without going through the gory.”

Why?  Why is it this way?  Why do we have to go through the gory before we can experience the glory?  The reason is a part of our human condition.  We cannot be filled until we acknowledge our emptiness.  We will not search for an answer to a question that we have never asked.  And we will never ask any questions or acknowledge our emptiness if we never experience the gory.  The gory is a necessary part of life.  Without the gory none of us would ever get off of our duffs and make any changes.  Status quo would be the name of the game of life.  Everything would remain as it always has been and always will be.  This is the opposite of glory.

Only through our emptiness will we ever seek to be more tomorrow than we are today.  Only through our emptiness will we ever even dare to dream of change.  Only through our emptiness will we be open to seeking help.  Only through our emptiness will we be open to listening to each other and learning from each other.  The gory is the only thing that will ever move us humans toward real and lasting change.  So, take heart.  If all of this gory is any indication of the coming glory, than we are in for something amazing!