Uncrippled Glory.

When I was in college I tore my ACL at soccer practice a few days before we went to nationals.  I had surgery.  I went to physical therapy.  I’m back to a hundred percent… able to play soccer and run as much as I want.

There’s still a scar there on my knee though.

And I still can’t fully bend my knee as far as I could before.

And sometimes when its cold outside, I get a tingly sensation on the front of my knee, where they took out a piece of my tibicular tendon.  It doesn’t hurt anymore, but I’m still sometimes reminded that there was once a wound there.

Deep wounds are like that.  Its possible to fully recover from them but still have them, well, tingle from time to time.

A basic truth of the Bible, and of Christianity, is not that time heals wounds so we don’t hurt… but that God uses wounds so that we become better people.  Pain has a way of waking us up to what we have… rescuing us from a life of focusing on what we don’t have.  Pain has a way of sensitizing us to things that we’d previously been calloused towards, of opening eyes towards things to which we were previously blinded.  C. S. Lewis said it this way: pain is “God’s megaphone for rousing a slumbering world.”

The Bible tells a story about one time when a man was healed of his paralysis by Jesus.  The story goes that Jesus commanded the man to take his mat home with him.  The man immediately picked up his mat, upon which he used to sit and beg.  Often I get caught up in details in stories like this.  Why did JEsus command that he take his mat?  Why didn’t the man just leave his mat there…after all, he didn’t really need it anymore…he could walk!  Its possible that he, in his poverty, wanted to take his mat for some other use.  Its an interesting thought, though, to consider the possibility that maybe the reason he took home his mat after being healed was as a reminder…

…of the days when he used to sit at the gate of the city begging…
…of the shame he once felt…
…of the helplessness that he had to carry around with him every day…
…of the powerlessness that had reduced him to begging for food and money…
…of the smell of dried urine that he couldn’t control…

I wonder if that’s why Jesus told him to take his mat home with him…not for its practicality but as a reminder.  This was his “I-once-was-lost-but-now-am-found” moment: the eternal reminder of the dakrness out of which he came.  The visible commemoration of a deep wound he had once suffered but was cured.  I wonder if every time the man looked at that mat, rolled up into a corner, sometimes forgotten and collecting dust, it caused him to remember at once both the severity of the pain he once had but also the glory-story that he could now tell because of it.  His pain had enabled him to see Jesus more clearly and to enjoy the glorious memory of an erased past.

Jesus was in the business of healing people’s wounds.

He also wanted to use their wounds for greater purposes…

…there are those of us who were told that time heals all, and things have definitely gotten better, but there are still scars and tingling sensations when its cold outside…points of numbness that feelings don’t come back to.  We can still run and jump and play but can’t quite bend our knees as far as we once could.  We would do well to remember that “those God greatly uses are those God greatly wounds,” that suffering is often the prelude to glory, that pain is the pathway to peace, and that when you allow God to heal your wound it becomes not a dark chapter in need of sweeping under the rug, but the moment of your greatest glory and redemption.  I wonder if that’s why he told the man to take his mat home with him…

Do you have a wound?

Have you allowed God to heal it?

Do you have a ‘mat’ ?

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4 thoughts on “Uncrippled Glory.

  1. Luke, I stumbled across your blog while searching for something else and it really blessed me. Thank you. I do have wounds and a mat. Reading this I am reminded of something Mark Batterson wrote – "Do we have art on our walls or alters to God?" There is something to the memorial stones in the Old Testament. We (I!) So often forget what He has done. And from my deepest wounds have come my deepest passions and tools to minister with. He "heals the wound but leaves the scar", as a reminder of how merciful He is. Thanks for another reminder. My God Bless your ministry.

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