“For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.”

There it was. The first verse I was supposed to dedicate to memory during my summer-long study on Romans. I was a little annoyed by it. I had memorized this verse when I was about 6 years old. Hello! Awana Bible drill, platinum crown holding Christian club member here! I’m gonna need a little more than a 12-word prepositional phrase to feel challenged.

I took a deep breath and turned the page of my Romans study. What?! I’m supposed to write this thing over and over again until I have it memorized?! Welp. Guess I can skip this day, huh?

But for kicks and giggles, and because nothing annoys my OCD brain more than to see an empty page in the middle of any sort of workbook, I wrote the verse out one time.

“For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.”

Huh. That’s weird. I wrote it again.

“For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.”

Yep. There it was again. “...fall short of the glory of God.” Well, that’s interesting. Falling short of the glory of God. Falling. As in now. As in present tense. On a daily basis I am falling short of the glory of God.

What does that even mean?

And one day, the pieces locked together and I saw the symptoms of falling short of that glory: It’s the world we live in. It’s the hardships we face. It’s the cancers and the failed marriages and the prodigals who we fear will never come home. It’s the addictions and the coping mechanisms. It’s the wars and the bombings. It’s the perfectionism and the depression.

The world we currently live in is not the one God intended us to have. His intention was community and life and peace. His intention was rest. His intention was glory.

Glory came to earth, to our fallen world, to our world of diseases and lost battles and broken relationships. And he offered the way to glory.

So what we have here is a classic Wiley E. Coyote situation. (And yes, I mean that cartoon desert mammal intent on finally catching that elusive roadrunner.) Each week we would watch as he used every tool in his arsenal, every item in the ACME catalogue, and a disconcerting amount of TNT in his pursuit of the (beep beep) roadrunner.

There we are, one with the Coyote, staring over a vast cavern of everything God never intended us to face, and longingly looking at the other side where God’s glory dwells. And we try every tool in our arsenal, every trick up our sleeve to bridge that gap. And yet, with each failed attempt, we find ourselves slamming into the side of the cliff-face again and again. Falling short each time. Our sin coming for us at the peak of our jump like a gigantic hook eager to snatch an under-performer off the stage. And each time we fail, the cancer wins, the depression sinks in a little farther, the frustration of our reality stinging more than the impact of the actual fall. Glory eludes us.

But! The story is not over. Yes, our sin keeps us from God’s glory. But while God never intended for us to live in this fallen world, he saw it coming. He knew it the moment he breathed life into dust. He saw our fall coming and because of his great love for us, even then, before the Garden was pieced together, he planned our rescue. He created the bridge to glory. It cost him everything and us nothing and it delivers us safely on to the peak of glory.

Glory came to earth, to our fallen world, to our world of diseases and lost battles and broken relationships. And he offered the way to glory.

We aren’t there yet. We still live in the land of disenchantment and brokenness. We still fight hard battles that we feel we lose more than win. But we get glimpses of glory when the church shines a light into the darkness, when justice actually does prevail and when miracles are born. We get a glimpse of the glory we are meant to live in. This side of glory is a hard one to endure, no one is denying that, but glory beckons to us and reminds us the bridge is there. We just have to choose to walk on it.

 

 

Reagan Perkins and her family have been attending Summit for the past four years. In addition to leading a Connect group, she is one of the volunteer writers for the SUMMIT Magazine. She likes to write, cook, and try not to kill things in the garden. You can (and should) read her personal blog right here.