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Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Grace-healed eyes

DISCLAIMER: Over the last several months, I have been encouraged to write regularly about the accident from 2004. I am working my way through writing a book about the incident. So, every Tuesday, I've taken the opportunity to write, remember and share snapshots of that tragic event.

I've said before that compassion was not my strong suit before the accident. I used to jokingly tell people that God gave me Sarah to be my soft, compassionate side because I had very little to spare. It's not that I was ever mean or cold. I just tended to see things in a very black and white way with little room for grace. As much as it pains me to say this, I was better talking about the love of Christ for hurting people than I was at living it.

April 9th, 2004 changed that. My own personal journey from that day forward took me to depths of sorrow and heights of anger that I never knew existed in me. I experienced ranges of emotions that were far beyond anything I had known before that day. And God used the accident to do something new in me.

My eyes were slowly opened to the Jesus of Scripture. Isaiah described Him as a "man of sorrows" and a suffering servant. The Gospels showed Him to be friendly with sinners and those in need. In all of Jesus' life, the grace of God was on display as He walked the hillsides of Galilee and the streets of Jerusalem.

The events of my life have taught me that God desires we display His grace in the same way.

Philip Yancey puts it this way. "Because God loves the poor, the suffering, the persecuted, so should we. Because God sees no undesirables, neither should we. By his own example, Jesus challenged us to look at the world through...'grace-healed eyes.'"

God is teaching me--patiently, I might add--to do that very thing. I can understand pain now in a way I never had before. I know what it means to question God, to doubt your faith and to wonder about everything your parents ever taught you. In the weeks after the accident, I yelled at God, screamed "unfair" and debated him much like David and Job. What happened in the process was that God softened my heart to see others through those "grace-healed eyes."

I believe Yancey's on to something. Lack of compassion may be one of the top reasons why the world runs when they see the church coming "to the rescue." It may be the very reason that the hooker, the single mom, the harried businessman and the doubting teens of our world are looking everywhere but the church for answers. The question "does God really care" should be answered with a resounding "YES" by the hearts of those who are willing to show their own scars and reveal their own stories of healing.

You have them too, you know. The sins forgiven. The burdens lifted. The fears washed away. The doubts silenced. The conflicts that have been given peace. Each one bears testimony to a God who not only cares...but cares very deeply. Show the world your scars...and let them know your Healer.

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