I’ve been missing my family a lot lately so I’ve been thinking of them often. Thinking about the makeup of us. Thinking about those who have gone on and the many scars we have from the wounds that were inflicted by the pain their death caused. Thinking about the experiences that we’ve all shared that have shaped us all into who we are today. Thinking about the things some of the women in my family have endured. Thinking about some of the situations that some of the men in my family have found themselves in. Thinking about what once was and what now is.
As I reflected on my family dynamic I just kept thinking, man there is so much depth there. So many experiences both good and bad that really just aren’t talked about enough. I was listening to a sermon recently (see link below) and I realized what Jesus’ response to this lack of vulnerability would be. I believe Jesus would simply say, “Show them your scars.”
Today’s world begs us to paint pretty pictures. All of our instagram photos are perfect. Our snapchats only contain the highlights of our days. You see more “praise reports” on Facebook than you do prayer requests. What is it with us? Why have we accepted that sharing our lows is something to be ashamed of? I think that by neglecting to share our stories we rob others of the chance to be healed and for God to be glorified.
When I say share our stories I mean the vulnerable parts of you that you feel only a chosen few can know. I mean your mistakes. I mean your insecurities and fears. I mean those things that keep you up at night. I mean those disappointments you thought you’d never have to face. I mean those experiences you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. I mean those things that have really wounded you in life. I mean those things that have left scars.
When looking for the perfect example of this we must always look to THE perfect one. Jesus.
Jesus Appears to Thomas – John 20:24-28 New International Version (NIV)
24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” 26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” 28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
I find this text interesting for a number of reasons.
Jesus had nothing to prove yet proved who he was anyway.
Jesus met Thomas where he was and gave him what he needed.
Thomas knew Jesus by his scars.
I admire Thomas in a strange way. Although many remember him because of his doubt I really appreciate how specific he was about what he needed. We can definitely say that as one of the disciples Thomas’ faith should have been greater right? But Thomas just wasn’t there in his faith. Thomas didn’t just say I need to see Jesus to believe. He didn’t just say I need to see the empty tomb. Thomas said I need to see, feel, and touch the scars to believe. I need to see, feel and touch the scars to know who he truly is.
That’s the challenge I’d like to put before you. Do people really know who you are? Can they identify you by your scars? Can they relate to you by your scars? I have a strong disdain for the shallow things of this world. Don’t ask me how things are going unless you’re okay with hearing how I’m struggling spiritually, trying to figure this marriage thing out, fighting to believe that he who started a good work in me will finish it, trying to figure out what God wants from me in life, and oh don’t let me forget how I keep failing the same spiritual tests over and over and over and over and I just want to throw my hands up in frustration with God’s pruning. Those things don’t mean the life God has given me isn’t great. Those things don’t mean that God isn’t good. Those things don’t mean that I’m weak. Those things mean that God is faithful and his promises are true. Because he never said I wouldn’t struggle spiritually. And he never said that marriage would be easy. He actually warned me that pruning would come but also lets me know he does it because he loves me. So why not share?
I’m truly learning the true strength in what the world perceives as weakness. I’m learning the true strength in vulnerability and dependence on God. It’s easy to respond and say “Oh I’m doing good” when someone asks how you’re doing or how your day is going. How much strength did that take? How much more strong are you when you can be honest and tell them that you really just want to cry right now.
Jesus. A man, who had the power to call down legions of angels, instead chose to be tortured and humiliated publicly on a cross abandoned by the ones who walked closest to him. The strength showed through the cross still amazes me. To know that you have the power to end this thing and instead you endure. For me. For you! Wow!
Thank you Jesus for showing me true strength in humility. Thank you Jesus for showing me there’s greater impact in God being glorified than through my own strength. Thank you Jesus for the scars. The scars that prove that you were human. The scars that show that you endured. The scars that show that you survived.
Our scars show the exact same thing. They show others that we are human. They show others that we endured. They show others that we survived. So show me your scars.
Love you dearly.
This blog was inspired by a sermon by Pastor Steven Furtick entitled No More Nails. Check it out! No More Nails