I have to admit that if I hear someone teaching about enduring hardship or suffering or dealing with anger or rejection, I sometimes long to hear them share something of their own personal experience of how the Lord helped them overcome these or similar issues. It helps me to know that, however good a speaker they are, they’re not just speaking from head knowledge, but have experienced the truth they are teaching.
If I heard a married man preaching from the pulpit that he and his wife had never had a disagreement in their decades of marriage, I wouldn’t want to go to him to share any struggles I might be having in my marriage. Before I take the risk of baring my wounds to someone, it helps me to know that they too have scars where they were once wounded, scars that speak hope to me that the God who brought them through will do the same for me.
For quite a while in my early Christian journey I was always trying to find another Christian to hear my frequent struggles and pray with me. Somehow I thought their prayers were more effective than mine. Looking back though, I realise that there were many times when the Lord arranged for there to be no-one available to pray with me, because He wanted me to know that He was right there with me, always ready to listen and help me.
Jesus truly is the One who understands our every weakness and problem perfectly, because He has experienced fully what it is to be human and live in our broken world. He never sinned, but He knows what it is like to be rejected, misunderstood, judged, mocked and ultimately to die as an innocent sacrifice in the place of us all on the cross. He carried His scars back to heaven, where He reigns now at the right hand of the Father, interceding for us. Just as He invited Thomas to see those scars after His resurrection, He invites us now to behold them by faith, and to see how they show His complete understanding of our humanity, so He can speak forgiveness and healing to our wounded hearts.
I have always loved some words from the song, ‘I am loved’ by Bill and Gloria Gaither: ‘I said, “if You knew, You wouldn’t want me. My scars are hidden by the face I wear”. He said, “My child, My scars go deeper. It was love for you that put them there”.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I choose to no longer hide my wounds in shame. As I come to You to be healed, may any scars that remain in my life from those wounds testify to others of Your grace, which also reaches out to them. Amen.
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