Daniel and I were excited.
We had been asked to move down to Honduras and help in the mission clinic.
We had married knowing that mission life was part of our future.
We had both spent several years in Central America,
and so it only seemed normal that we would end up down there, at least for some time.
So it was at the tail end of our honeymoon first year that we were asked to move down here.
But just after the call came, and we were talking and praying about it,
I vividly remember telling Daniel,
“I just can’t shake this feeling that God is taking us down there to teach US.”
Not so much to teach the people down there,
but being there so He could use our experiences to teach US more about Him.
And now, years later, looking back I see the same thing.
God did bring us down here, so full of hopes and aspirations,
and He did humble us and allow us to see ourselves as we were.
Small. Needy. Dependent on Him.
We certainly had our mountain top experiences while down here,
but God seemed more interested in taking us through rough and craggy valleys
where all we knew was deeply shaken.
He wanted to teach us humility, trust, faith.
We’ve been back in the States now for almost four years.
They’ve have been hard years.
Church has faced rough waters.
Relationships bled and struggled.
Correction and criticism hurt.
Tears, prayers, agreeing with God and more humbling.
This was life.
I recently sat in a meeting that felt charged with issues that made me want to react.
I sent Daniel a text and mentioned teasingly, yet almost not,
about how moving way into the lonesome wild west sounded appealing.
Away from sticky relationships.
Away from issues.
But he text back, “Don’t worry, we’d take our own issues with us.”
And I knew he was right.
You know what I am learning?
Where there are people, there will be needs.
Where there are people, there will be hurt.
It’s been staggering, these last few years.
Seeing the hurt in people’s faces, anger in their eyes,
and the wounds that became hiding places and ways of living.
It’s so easy, this hiding in our pain.
This rationale of “Because I was hurt, I am…”
But the last few days I’ve really been thinking about it.
Looking at the stunning beauty and feeling the staggering pain all over this world.
Sin and pain. You can’t run away from it.
No matter where you go, you will see it in the faces of the people.
In the mirror.
Pain is part of life.
Pain is essential to our growth.
But what keeps lifting my chin up, and healing the wounds I’ve received,
is this powerful, drawing truth.
God allows pain so we can better reflect Him.
Out of our broken places, He shines through.
From our shattered pieces, His miracle of love emerges.
The rejection. The gossip. The misunderstandings.
I don’t need to justify myself, or anyone.
Where God sees me is in this sacred place of my heart.
And He lovingly allowed each wound, each cutting word, even each accidental misunderstanding to take the plow of His love deeper into my heart.
Jesus was wounded.
Rejected by those closest to him.
His back was ripped to shreds by the hands of scorning soldiers.
In His moment of deepest need, was abandoned even by the One who had sent Him to earth. The hands that formed me bear scars of death, and it is by His wounds I am healed.
By what He suffered, we are brought to life.
It’s easier now to see how good those old wounds were for me.
Time does ease the pain of old experiences.
But the freshest ones, those are the ones that I’m seeing today with fresh hope.
Not that the sting will fade soon,
but that God’s eternal purpose will be burned deeper into my heart.
This altar of pain, this place of wounding, it’s not about me at all.
It’s about God, and His perfect glory He longs to pour in my life.
And then, you know, it really doesn’t matter how much today hurts.
Cause tomorrow He will be more glorified in my life,
because of what He was able to do in me, today.