A good song has the ability to remove you from the present moment and transport you elsewhere. A good song will often fill your mind with thoughts of the past or leave you imagining your future. Glory Days by Bruce Springsteen has long been such a song. Now, the Boss’ gravely vocals may not be your cup of tea, but I would argue that he touches on some common human longings and emotions in the lyrical content. The underlying theme of the song is one we all can relate to; one we should spend time reflecting on and filtering through gospel lenses.
I feel I am far enough removed from what many consider the glory days—the late high school years—to properly weigh in on them with the right perspective. For me, those days were more awkward than glorious. Yes, they were fun, but not what I would call glorious. I know that is not the case for all. For some, those days stand out as the highlight of their life. And no matter which side of the story you have experienced, I want to share some thoughts I think we all can relate to.
It seems as if the song makes some pretty big assumptions about the trajectory of the human life and experience. And I would submit that, even though they are typical and common ideologies, they are, in fact, myths. Especially when filtering them through the implications of the redeeming work of Christ.
Adulthood steals the joy from life. We all have the tendency to look back on the past and romanticize it. For most, it was a season of life full of pleasure-seeking alongside minimal responsibility. The song almost makes it seem as if growing older wrecks your ability to enjoy life. There was a time in your life where having fun was simple and easy, but now you have a job, family, kids, appointments, and bills. Simply put, such thinking is wrong. Growing older doesn’t steal joy—it gives it.
God hasn’t designed growing older to be easy, but He does work in such a way that our love for Him, others, and His Kingdom grows deeper and more vibrant.
And as a result, we are able to enjoy life more fully. When our hearts and lives are full of God’s love, we experience joy on a deeper level. Why? Because the joy we experience rolls over into praise. And when we praise God, we experience even more joy. God is good.
You will inevitably be let down with how life turns out. The song seems to nudge listeners towards remembering what could be considered the more exciting days of their life—the glory days. What can one do when their present-day existence is filled with the same humdrum and boring routines? Well, remember the glory days of course! The song pushes us to think that, despite our best efforts, most have already lived through the ‘good times’ of life and will have to settle for something they never imagined nor planned on. Yes, it’s true. Our lives will rarely unfold the way we planned. Change seems to be constant and where you find yourself today is probably not where you envisioned yourself when you thought about your future. But that is not a bad thing—far from it.
No matter where we find ourselves today, we don’t have to settle on looking back to the past for purpose and meaning.
Yes, our lives may have turned out differently than we thought, but there are some significant truths that remain a reality despite how varied our lives are from what we imagined (or hoped for). Those truths flow out of our relationship with Christ. Our identity, purpose, and hope are tethered to Christ in such a way that joy can be experienced no matter where we find ourselves in life.
The gospel of Jesus Christ points us towards a blessed hope. Our glory days aren’t behind us—rather, they lay ahead. With God’s Spirit indwelling us, our futures are guaranteed to be filled with glory (don’t read that as easy though). As God’s children, we are part of something so grand that whatever glories we experienced as pimple-faced teenagers pales in comparison to what we belong to now. Our futures are in fact mysterious, but I can firmly tell you that God wants to use you to impact the world. Now that sounds glorious! And to think that is just the preparation for the real glory days. One day, when sin and evil have been put away for good, we will enjoy God’s presence so fully that ALL we will ever experience is glory (and in an increasing manner)!
Imagine days filled with nothing but joy, laughter, love, peace, worship, and pleasure.
That’s our future in Christ! And that won’t just happen occasionally; it will be the reality of every single day for an eternity! Pardon my overuse of exclamation points—periods don’t seem adequate when writing about such things.