Ever since I first heard "Blessed Be" by Jason Gray from his album All the Lovely Losers, I was hooked by the emotional and biblical messages of his songs. In fact, that song was the 8th song I featured for my "behind the song" devotional article series which started back in March 2008. I've since featured many more of Jason's songs and now this is our 19th devotional together, making Jason the most featured artist over the past twelve years and 1,041 song devotionals.
I'm always excited to hear new music from Jason. Last year, Jason released his new EP, Order, the first of three EPs Jason Gray has released over a year's time, mirroring the themes of the pandemic in many ways. The names of each EP are Order, Disorder, and Reorder. Jason tells a story of the process of transformation in three volumes. Order EP featured the hit songs, "I'm Gonna Let it Go" and "Order Disorder Reorder." Disorder EP was preceded by the hit song, "Remind Me You're Here." Now, Reorder EP has released and was preceded by the hit song, "Glory Days" in conjunction with the full album release, Order, Disorder, Reorder.
Jason is an anointed songwriter and singer, and he has a profound way of piercing my soul with his poignant words, tender singing and inspirational truths. Like his previous releases, the album's central theme is about finding our identity in Christ, being honest and transparent with ourselves and others to allow God's grace to shine in our lives by demonstrating how in our weakness, His strength is made perfect. I had the chance to speak with Jason about "Glory Days."
Please tell me the personal story behind this song.
I've heard a quote that every preacher only preaches about two or three sermons a thousand different ways. When I look at my work, it's clear that there are themes I keep returning to, even when I'm not trying to. I end up seeing the same idea from many different angles. It's not completely pre-determined by me. It happens and I discover it after the fact. "Glory Days" is another entry in the theme that it's in the hard times that we become the best versions of ourselves. That's where God gets His best work done. The idea for this song came from a conversation I had with my mom. She's the Bible answer person in my life who knows where to find obscure verses in scripture. I was asking her about her birth and over the course of our conversation she talked about a couple of verses that had the word glory in them. Then she said I should write a song called "Glory Days." My mom inspired me to write the song. The two passages she shared with me and that inspired this song are from 2 Corinthians 3:18 and Romans 5:3-4.
I love the way the two different uses of 'glory' play together in the Bible verses that connect with the song. It got me thinking about the phrase 'glory days' and how we tend to think of the glory days as a charmed time in our life when everything was perfect and trouble-free. But as I read those verses, and elsewhere in scripture, it's clear that the difficult days are when God gets His best work done in us; as suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character, and character hope. I wondered, what if our glory days are actually the days of trouble and struggle that God uses to transform me 'from glory to glory?'
Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?
2 Corinthians 3:18 (NKJV): "But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord."
Romans 5:3-4 (NKJV): "And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope."
1 Peter 4:13 (NKJV): "But rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy."
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV): "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight."
Philippians 1:6 (NKJV): "Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ."
Romans 8:28 (VOICE): "We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan."
What is the takeaway message?
It seems like sometimes we get things willfully wrong when we think that our glory days were back when we were on top and we were winning in our lives. When I read those verses, I realize it's the opposite. When we are losing and things are difficult, that's when God gets His best from us. I'm busted and broken enough for God to get in me and be finally open to Him revealing Himself in me. I see a counselor and have had a number of consecutive losses over the past several years. I'm not in a great place personally. My time with my counselor goes better when I'm brokenhearted when I see him instead of when I think I'm feeling good. Noticing that, I realize that's how it is in our walks with the Lord. When we are lonely or sad, those are our glory days, because when we are broken, He can get in there and bring out His glory in us. I find myself feeling something like a quiet anticipation on days when I'm feeling broken-hearted. I, too, can glory in my sufferings because I know those are good days to seek God, trusting that I'm in a good place for Him to do His 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.
I've been longing for what I thought were the glory days
Back when my life felt so easy
Anywhere but here would be a better place
Caught up California dreaming
I know my heart can get carried away
On a hindsight holiday
But standing in the middle of the rain right here
It's so clear
These are my glory days
These are my glory days
Busted and broken, but finally open
Wider than an empty grave
This is the good life now
Found it where I fell down
Shattered in pieces, but thank you Jesus
These are my, these are my glory days
The hard times are where You get the best of me
Yeah, this is where we turn the corner
I'm becoming more than I ever dreamed
In the glory days of my reorder
You make my heart stronger when it breaks
Cuz when I fall, I fall into Your grace
Standing in the middle of the pain right here
It's so clear
You take me higher
When I walk through fire
Hallelujah, hallelujah these are my glory days
You make me stronger
When the night is longer
Hallelujah, hallelujah these are my glory days
Right where I'm at
The good with the bad
I'm not looking back
As long as I have You these are my glory days
If you like singer-songwriters who wear their hearts on their sleeves and sing about the truth of what it means to walk with God and work out their salvation with fear and trembling, then don't miss out on one of Christian music's most treasured artists. Jason has once again invited listeners into his story of faith as each song features Jason's unique brand of gourmet lyrical phrasing embedded with the truth of the Gospel for those "with ears to hear." Jason is one of my favorite writers in all of Christian music because his songs are so emotional, vulnerable, and authentic.
Once you adopt the words of this song into your heart, you will remember the truth that Jesus has always been, He is today, and He always will be the One who makes a way for us, even when it seems impossible. That's something to remember and rest upon. In any situation, God will make a way for His children. As we look at the fallen world around us, we all need to lift our eyes up to God and put all our faith and hope in Him. It's in our weakness that God is made strong. It's only through God's grace that we can overcome our emotional conflicts of feeling invisible and conspicuous at the same time.
The truth behind this catchy song is based on Paul's challenging words to the Romans in Chapter 5 which are ultimately words to celebrate and "rejoice in the hope of the glory of God" as we praise our Lord and Savior Jesus for coming to die for our sins as our perfect, blameless substitute for our sinful natures on whose grace we stand. This truth has really been a source of peace and comfort for me as when I've felt societal and financial pressures. I know I can always rely on God's grace and lay my stress at His feet and actually "rejoice in my suffering" as Paul urges, because it is that same earthly suffering that reminds me to surrender my life and dedicate it to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and persevere by His justification of me as His follower.
This song is a great reminder that our circumstances don't define our joy. Our position in Christ and His unending faithfulness is worthy of all our gratitude and adoration. This song gives me more conviction to not feel worthless or afraid, especially during this COVID-19 pandemic. With many areas in our lives, we also spend a lot of time worrying. We need to let that go and allow the Lord to be our Redeemer. We live in a fallen and sinful world. "Glory Days" is a gorgeous offering of praise to the only One who has power to save. It is a very sing-able song, and I love singing the joyful lyrics, "The hard times are where You get the best of me/Yeah, this is where we turn the corner/I'm becoming more than I ever dreamed/In the glory days of my reorder." Amen to that.
NRT lead contributor Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector, and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.
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