I love that God, in His Word, allows us to see some of the great men and women of the faith with all of their immaturity and imperfections laid bare. The Bible is full of incomplete, limited people. Broken people with rough edges and faulty thinking. People just like you and me. It’s true! Think of a favorite Bible character then ask yourself what endears them to you, why do you like their story? For me, it’s because I can relate to them. I venture to say you can, too. We are a lot like them, so their stories of redemption, rescue, victory, healing and restoration give us hope for our situation.
By being transparent, these men and women encourage us, strengthen our faith, and build our confidence in our God Who keeps His many wonderful promises to His people. Their stories enlarge our capacity to believe that He CAN, He DOES, and He WILL use inadequate people like you and me to spur others on when they have lost heart and their burden has become too heavy for them to carry alone.
Most of us feel inclined to cover up blemishes, don’t we? We use products on our bodies to cover up wrinkles, dark circles, discolored teeth, hair that’s turning gray, cellulite. You name it, we try to hide it. Me? I would buy concealer by the gallon and bathe in it if I thought it would do any good. I’ve jokingly told my family they will never know when my hair starts to gray, because I don’t plan on allowing it to go without color long enough to ever see it happen! People who tan say it makes them look slimmer. Tanning, concealer, veneer, dye, whatever the method, we try to cover a multitude of imperfection.
In our house, there has been a lot of covering up going on lately. We are putting down new tile and carpet on the floors. Walls that we didn’t realize were so dingy are suddenly bright and new with fresh coats of paint. Dings and scars are filled in and hidden… unless you look closely.
Trying to camouflage flaws we don’t particularly want showing on our body or things we don’t like about our home is really just a matter of preference or taste. The process requires a lot of work and can really be tiring, but we figure the pay-off is worth it. Hiding the condition of our hearts and lives is quite a different matter. To do so can be exhausting and the pay-off isn’t so great. We earn no dividends from putting up a front for our family, friends, or within our church walls or our circles of influence. We will come across to others as not able to relate, non-approachable, artificial.
I am not saying that we should spill out all of our past and present heartaches, failures, messes, trials, and those of our children to everyone we meet! But we need to be sensitive to times He may be leading us to share with other hurting people how He brought us through those things. People who are hurting, struggling and walking through a dark time are in need of the comfort which we ourselves have received (2 Cor. 1:3-5 ). They need hope. They need a little light for the path they’re on. They need to see God’s light shining through our broken places. And they will if we let the Lord turn our mess into a message.
The Bible calls us earthen vessels, clay pots (2 Cor. 4:7). Over time, due to daily wear and tear, clay pots will crack. So will we. What happens when you hold a cracked pot up to a source of light? The light shines through the cracks! As believers, Jesus is our source of Light.
He uses our transparency to shine His light into the darkness others are experiencing.
So while God is continually filling in our hollow spaces, healing our breaks, binding up our still-fresh gaping wounds, and giving us beauty for ashes (Is. 61:3 ), we need to allow others to see that because of Christ in us joy, life, and hope can and do co-exist with pain, tears, and trials (2 Cor. 4:10).
You are a work in progress and you can be “confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6).
Do others see Jesus’ life at work in you (2 Cor. 4:11-12)?
May we always be ready to give someone a reason for the hope that is in us (1 Peter 3:15 ).
Hope and blessings to you, Becky