Glory Shining Through The Cracks
There is a story from the Gospel of John where Jesus and his disciples are passing by a blind man, who was begging.
Apparently, everyone knew that this particular man had been born blind. In the ancient world, this was a sign of some kind of curse, which made the disciples ask, "Who sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind?"
Jesus responds, "Neither. This happened so that you would see the glory of God."
I've always been troubled by Jesus' response. I suppose it's because I so narrowly escaped total blindness as a child. If my diagnosis of congenital glaucoma had come just a little later, I'd be blind today. Even so, doctors could only save the sight in one eye--I'm legally blind in the other.
If I'd succumbed to blindness, I imagine the last thing I would want to hear now is that my blindness happened so that other people could see the glory of God, which is exactly what the man in John's Gospel heard Jesus say.
I wonder if the blind man said to himself, "Seriously? That doesn't seem fair at all. A lifetime of agony, poverty, ridicule and shame---just so these guys can see God's glory?"
Only it wasn't just the disciples who saw the glory of God in this man's brokenness.
Countless people throughout the ages have read that story, and countless more have sung a certain song entitled Amazing Grace that contains the blind man's testimony to the glory of God: "I once was blind, but now I see."
I know that there are so many of us out there right now who are dealing with brokenness and wounds. And there are times when the brokenness can make us feel like we actually did do something to deserve it--that there's really no way out of it or around it.
The poet Dobby Gibson offers a bleak image that illustrates the helpless feeling that washes over you when you start to believe you deserved the brokenness. He writes, "The first door is the one you entered through, the rest are there only for fires."
In one of those weird, revelatory moments that come when you least expect it, I found Psalm 3 in two different devotional readings this morning, which I choose to think isn't a coincidence.
There is a verse in the psalm that stood out to me: "Many are saying of me, 'God will not deliver him.' But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the one who lifts my head high."
Don't you love that? The Lord is "my glory, the one who lift my head high."
I don't know about the brokenness you might be experiencing today. I don't know the wounds you are covering up beneath the surface--wounds that threaten to break open at any moment. I don't know the story behind your scars.
But what I do know is that your brokenness has the potential to be the very cracks that the Light of the world can shine through. Your wounds are a testimony to the hurt that took a shot at you, but didn't overcome you. What you consider weakness is actually strength forged in struggle and trial, and filled with God's glory.
Don't despair. God's glory is within you. God will lift up your head high. God will not let you be overcome. May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.