Have you ever had good intentions turn into regret?
It can happen in all kinds of ways…
Your words were misunderstood.
Or simply an accident you can’t undo.
I’ve experienced all of the above but most recently it was the last one that the Lord used to teach me a lesson.
It all started the morning I decided to put up our Christmas decorations. I gathered the fall stuff up and boxed it away.
But before I carried the Christmas boxes upstairs, I decided to clean some of our year-round items … things I dust often but only “clean” occasionally.
And that’s the reason why I took a close look at this large glass candle holder that sits in a featured spot on our kitchen island. I bought it specifically for this house and that space.
I love it!
As I took a closer look, I realized it was covered with fingerprints and remnants of seasonal “dust” – so, I decided to carry it over to the sink and give it a good scrubbing.
Did I mention that it’s large?
Well, it’s heavy, too!
Once I added water and soap, it was awkward, slippery, and hard to handle.
And that’s when the rim bumped the edge of the counter. I heard a crack and a clink. The sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach was confirmed by the chip of glass that glistened up from the bottom of the sink.
After the initial “OH NO!” I ran and grabbed some super-glue hoping a little magic would make it as good as new.
But I was wrong. Although the chip fit the space perfectly and the glue held tight … the scarred edges were still unpleasantly noticeable.
As the day went on, I checked out the flaw every time I walked by the counter. All I could think about was that it was no longer unblemished. I considered replacing it with a new and “perfect” duplicate.
And I continued to do some serious self-loathing because I hadn’t been more careful.
I thought about it as I went to sleep and it was on my mind when I woke up the next morning.
But by God’s grace, He replaced the negative thoughts from the day before with something new…
“In this sinful world you will receive bumps and bruises. Some will even leave you wounded and scarred. But I want you to remember every time you see the flaw on this candle holder … that the light still shines even though it’s damaged.
And in the same way … you can shine the light of my love even with your flaws and scars.“
Of all the miserable things that can happen in this life … my damaged decor item falls way down on the list of things that are upsetting. I’ve experienced worse in the past and I’m sure you have too.
And yet, I love how the Lord used this one to not only remind me of an important lesson for today. He gave me a lasting reminder for the future.
A reminder to shine His love for His glory even though I will never do it flawlessly…
Let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.Matthew 5:16
Friends, our flaws and scars do not disqualify us. In fact, it might possibly be those very things that help us shine the Lord’s light in unique and personal ways. It may be that…
- The scar of betrayal enables us to love the person who is in pain after being betrayed.
- The scar of repentance that led to forgiveness reminds us that the Lord wants us to forgive others.
- The scar of former fear helps us love the person who is experiencing fear right now.
- The scar of having walked in grief strengthens us to walk with someone who is grieving.
- The scars of worry, guilt, shame, rejection, and loneliness … help us love hurting people in a broken world.
God can help us use our flaws and scars to love the people around us who are struggling and in pain.
Not on our own.
Well, at least not on my own…
But with God’s grace.
In His kindness God called you to share in His eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, He will restore, support, and strengthen you, and He will place you on a firm foundation. All power to Him forever! Amen.1 Peter 5:10–11
I have to admit that I struggle to stay on that “firm foundation.” I need God’s help which is why I’m so thankful He gave me this tangible reminder.
I’m also thankful for Paul’s honesty in writing about his struggle. I’m glad we don’t know the actual source of his “thorn in the flesh.”
Some think it was a physical ailment, others wonder about an ongoing disability. Some question whether it was the result of persecution and the problems he endured.
I’ve even wondered if it might not be the continuous taunting of the enemy attacking Paul’s heart and mind for persecuting Jesus’ followers before the Lord reached out to him on the road to Damascus.
Whatever it was, God wanted you and me to be able to see ourselves in Paul’s tri-fold plea for deliverance and hold tight to His loving response…
God said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ can work through me.2 Corinthians 12:9
And God’s grace is enough. It’s all we need.
God’s grace is enough for us to shine the light and love of Jesus to a broken and hurting world. Enough for us to use our scars to remember that everyone is wounded … everyone needs to know His grace, mercy, and love.
His grace is enough to give us everything we need to glorify Him … even with our flaws and scars.
After writing words of God’s promise to give him all-sufficient grace, Paul said…
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.2 Corinthians 12:10 (MSG)
Paul didn’t deny or ignore the flaws and scars, he invited God to use them to make him stronger … to help him. He wrote in his letter to the Ephesians…
Once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.Ephesians 5:8–9
You know, a funny thing happened as I looked closely at my flawed candle holder…
I saw light shining right through the middle of the chipped glass.
And I realized I really am thankful for this daily reminder of God’s sufficient grace, mercy, and love.
Whatever happens … the things I do that cause me pain, the things done by others or the problems I experience because the world is broken by sin, the Lord is able to give me everything I need to shine the light of His love.
And He’s able to give you everything you need too!
By His grace may we shine His light for His glory through our flaws and scars!
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