Seems that in my devotional time the Lord has given me a focus this week. Healing. Preparing for, living through, walking with God during – our trials. While God's promises are there (what we shared Monday), and while we may not have had the perfect earthly example of how to do this (something we talked about yesterday), we know that we have a heavenly Father whose promises are true and righteous. Still, it is often very hard to remember to lean on Him when we need to. We need to train ourselves to remember that we can always rest in, and lean on Him in our times of need. In doing so, I also feel that it is very important that we seek growth from our experience. God does not allow things to happen in our lives that cannot be used for good, despite how bad things look at the time.
A favorite Christian artist of mine is Sara Groves. She is sort of a mix of folk with biblical inspiration. There have been artists like this in almost every generation, but few that carry such a biblical emphasis even in the Christian genre. Popular artists like Bob Dylan and to some extent John Melencamp, Tom Petty and Tracy Chapman are more examples of this style in our era, but we can hardly say that any of them offer their talents with any sort of Christian slant. As I was listening to one of Sara Groves' songs today, the lyrics (pulled right out of scripture) remind us that going through our hard times brings healing, and that often the process of healing teaches us life lessons that God desires that we learn.
In her prose, sharing the heart of her life's own troubles, the song has a chorus that goes like this:
And I feel you here
And you're picking up the pieces
It seemed out of my hands, a bad situation
But you are able
And in your hands the pain and hurt
Look less like scars and more like...
Lest you begin to feel like this is a promo for a Christian musician and not devotional, let me say that while this is just a song, the principals and thoughts are God's own heart. His desire is that we take the troubled times that are dealt to us in this fallen and sinful world, and give them to Him, allowing Him to turn our worldly scars into Christian character. His desire is that as we simply do not GO through our hard times, it is that we GROW through our hard times.
Scars are cool when we are young men, but as we get older they can be more troublesome. Scars can make for tight, rough skin that is less elastic, less flexible and lacking in feeling. Internal scars are even worse. If any of you have ever has surgery, you may know this. Internal scars prevent proper movement of our parts, stiffness occurs and we have binding with things that we should not be bound too. Often when another spiritual trial or physical trial come up, previous scars prevent proper care of the new wound, and present even greater hurdles to our present recovery.
But... there are positive sides to scars, as well. They may be ugly, cause inflexibility and provide areas where we have lack of feeling, but they are reminders. The sign of the maturity of our faith is what we do when we look at those scars. Do they remind us of struggles, bringing sadness and or condemnation to us? Or do they represent steps we have taken in our walk? Scars should not be painful in a spiritual sense, they should bring the joy of victory over the attempts of the enemy to do us harm, that end up helping us grow closer to God. Giving all things to God, and seeking to allow Him to bring all things together for good is allowing scars to become character, and righteousness will go before you.