21st November 2018

The Healing in His Scars

“Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side.’”
John 20:27 (NRSVA)

I remember it well; a day when sadness crept up on me from behind and overpowered me. A week earlier, I had heard the shocking news that a couple I knew well were splitting up. I hadn’t realised how much it affected me; suddenly my world had descended into a grey fog. Sadness can prompt feelings of guilt; as a Christian shouldn’t I always be joyful? Isn’t that what Scripture says?

But God does get sadness. He really does. He has also experienced it – full on, over-powering sorrow. When Jesus realised that his friend Lazarus was dead, He did not rush to the tomb and immediately raise him from the grave. Instead, Jesus took the time to first greet Mary and Martha, Lazarus’ sisters, who were in the depths of grief. And their sadness overwhelmed him. “Jesus began to weep. So the Jews said, ‘See how he loved him!’” (John 11:35-36).

Yet, it should not surprise us that God can experience sadness. In the story of Noah, the wickedness of humanity caused God great pain. “And the Lord was sorry that he had made humankind on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart” (Genesis 6:6). Like many a parent, God has gone through times of great pain, distress and grief over all his children.

My friends are now heading for divorce. I am sad. But deep in my heart, I know that God promises to redeem all things through Jesus Christ. The story of Thomas meeting Jesus (John 20:24-29), reminds us that though glorified, Jesus still bears the wounds of the Cross in his hands and feet. The scars of his pain are still there, reminding me that God will also turn all of our physical, emotional and spiritual scars into emblems of victory.

My sadness for my friends runs deep. But even deeper than that, somewhere in my core, I know that the light of joy, kindled by Jesus, has not gone out. The hope of redemption, fanned by the Holy Spirit, keeps that joy alight. The Christian songwriters Casting Crowns have a wonderful way of reflecting on that hope: “All of me for all You are, I lay at your feet my broken heart, And I’ll find my healing in Your scars, All of me for all you are.”

Our Lord joined us in our world and experienced our sadness. However, He is redeeming all things and His scars testify that all the wounds of our sadness will one day be healed.

Father, how Your Son suffered to rescue us all, the whole of humanity! Help us to see that He is redeeming all things by the power of the Holy Spirit. Though we often feel sad, guide us to see that deep flame of joy alight in our lives. We turn our sadness over to you in His name, Jesus Christ.

Study by Ian Woodley

About the Author:
Ian Woodley is an Elder and Pastoral Council member of the Edinburgh Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK, a part of Grace Communion International (Gracecom for short).

Local Congregation:
Gracecom, Edinburgh
Gilmerton New Church
Ravenscroft Street
EH17 8QJ

Meeting time:
Saturday 11:00am

Local Congregational Contact:
Peter Mill
Email: peter.mill@gracecom.church

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