I looked her right in the eye. I needed her attention. I was kind, but determined.
I took a shower and only remembered to shave one leg. I tried to look up the weather for the middle of April, hoping that Audrey would have a beautiful birthday. I answered a bunch of email, and realized that my inbox was eating them up without warning. I spent a few hours trying to send them to a place where they wouldn’t be deleted; there are about 350 that I haven’t gotten to yet.
I lined up my perfumes and tried to decide which one I wanted Audrey to smell when she comes. I held my nephew. I watched the girls hunt for eggs in our backyard (1/2 acre with no trees and a flat lot. When I say “search,” what I mean is “pick up”) I read. I cried. I didn’t make it to church because I was so upset that I couldn’t get out of bed. I prayed. I read all the Gospel accounts of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. I cried. I prayed.
The image of Jesus being mocked while he bled and suffered was unbearable today. More so than any other time I have read the story. His words, His shame, His pain. The fact that as I read those words, I am reminded that He knew my Audrey while He hung. He knew how many breaths she would have, how many tears I would cry for her, how I will run to her in heaven and rejoice that she doesn’t need her lungs there anyway because she is perfect. He knew these words before I typed them. His love is deeper than I can fathom. If you want to feel the Holy Spirit fill you, try something one day. Maybe today if you can make the time. Start by praying for God to reveal Himself in a new way to you, and then read through these words of agony and death, and imagine your face as what He saw. You were worth it. He still believes that. I hope you do too. When God turned away from His Son, and darkness crept across Calvary, He knew your face, your heart, your hurts. They are forever hidden within His wounds.
It always makes me laugh when Abby and Ellie watch Sleeping Beauty. They have seen it no less than 20 times, and yet, when it is time for Aurora’s finger to touch the spinning wheel, they cover their eyes and ask over and over, “What is going to happen to her?” The truth is that they know what is going to happen, but it doesn’t make it any easier to watch. There is time between her bleeding and her waking up. The in-between is where the doubt creeps in. Where you think that evil might just win, and that the great rescue will be stifled.
I know that He will raise up, He will conquer, but when I read about the cross I want to close my eyes until the in-between is over. Today, as I read each scripture, I was struck by something I have never put too much emphasis on before. Jesus did not return to His followers as a healed man. He had scars that told the story, that brought Thomas to belief. He was alive, fully alive, and yet, not unscathed. God chose to use these wounds to remind the world what He had overcome. It seems like if I were the writer of the story, I would heal them completely. Really show people what kind of power I had. Just make it look like it never happened…complete restotation. This isn’t what God chose for Christ, and it isn’t what He chooses for any one of us.
If we are called to suffer in the name of Jesus, we bear scars as well. He doesn’t hide them when trouble has passed, but rather He allows our paths to cross with those who want to touch them, to believe in them, to fall into the arms of the one who allowed them to be inflicted.
This is why I write to you all.
I have prayed many, many times that the eyes that read these words will run their fingers along the wounded hands of Christ, letting His suffering tell you the depth of love He has for you.
This life is not about being healed.
It’s about bearing wounds for the sake of the One who bore them for us. For you.
As a psychologist, I want to help people face these hard things. To turn them into beautiful gifts to be given back to the Lord.
It is as simple as recognizing that God has chosen your suffering for a purpose, and the splendor of His plan begins to be revealed as we trust Him to do that. Tonight, as I write, I am praying that whoever reads this will pray about what their scars tell about themselves, and what they could tell about Christ. If you want to share with me, please email me personally. I would love to hear all about how God redeemed/is redeeming your wounds. I have been so blessed to have others write and invite me to praise God through their stories…it makes me want to keep learning and listening.
I could go on and on, to try and make this sound as clear and meaningful as it does in my spirit, but someone has already done it much better than I ever will. These are the lyrics for the song “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us” written by Stuart Townend. It will be on the new Selah CD, and I have been listening to it over and over again this Easter season. Be blessed, and be encouraged. Today is the day of new life and resurrection…oh, and of the love that NEVER lets go.
How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory
Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished
I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom