|Guest author, Deanna Marquart|
As I was pondering my sorrow, the words to a song washed through my head:
He will be the Truth that will offend them one and all
A Stone that makes men stumble and a Rock that makes them fall
Many will be broken so that He can make them whole
But many will be crushed and lose their own soul
(Song: “Scandalon” by Michael Card)
I don’t know about you, but for a long time I had been puzzled by the passage in Scripture:
"See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame." (Romans 9:33)
Why would Christ (recognized to be the “stone”) cause men to stumble and fall? To my understanding, stumbling and falling were bad things, things caused by sin and the devil but not the Lord.
Yet the way Michael Card explained it, I could see what it means. In order to be made whole, one must first be broken. Yet those who resisted His wounding would be crushed.
I recalled how a long time ago, I had come to accept the understanding that the Lord desired for me to minister to the wounded through my own having been wounded. Because I had hurt, I could cry with those who hurt as well, and comfort them with this comfort I had received.
But in trying to use this explanation for suffering to encourage a friend who had been walking though pain, she got angry, wondering how if the purpose for wounding was to help others who were wounded, why did anyone have to get wounded? If no one got wounded, then there would be no reason for others to get wounded to help them out! Make sense?
Yet, as I contemplated the words to this song in light of my memories, I considered what was on the Lord’s heart for me personally through my wounding.
How many people have come to Christ without having first been wounded?
How many learned the love of the Lord without having first fallen flat on their face?
How many people have drawn closer to the Lord apart from suffering?
It seems our greatest love for the Lord comes from having received His love after we have fallen. And I know that my greatest, most meaningful times of worship come when I worship Him amidst my pain.
“The Lord disciplines those He loves.” (Hebrews 12:6)
Thanking the Lord for my sorrow is not something I have ever truly done before. In fact, it is not even something I want to do. And yet the Lord is showing me that I can be thankful. If I could see the greater treasure in Him I have gained for having lost the other treasure of happy memories, then is there a reason to sorrow for having missed out on those things?
May our eyes be opened together to see what treasures our lives have gained through our having stumbled over the stone and fallen on the rock.
To the unobservant eye, that might have seemed like a typical devotion. But for me it was big step. After I wrote that, I sat back, bit my lip, and forced myself to say, “Th-th-ank . . . You, Lord . . . f-f-for . . . the suffering . . . in . . . my . . . life.” It was the first time I ever said that and meant it. (Before, I had said it “in faith” with absolutely no belief in what I was saying because I was told I needed to. My heart wasn’t in it. This time, it was.)
I can’t say then I noticed anything different, other than I no longer felt sorrowful over the pain of my past. The next morning, however, I noticed that core “feeling” of depression wasn’t there anymore! For the first time in my life, I truly felt good from the inside. For the next few days, I was almost in a daze – like, is this for real? Maybe I should have been jumping up and down for joy and sharing it with everyone, but I felt like I needed to be sure this actually “stuck” before I said anything.
As I reflect in myself (I’m an introspective person, constantly searching in my heart for what’s going on in me), I noticed that core feeling of hopelessness, wishing – well – that I could die, just wasn’t there anymore!
I can tell there is more to be healed. But it is as if ahuge, huge chain had been broken off of me.
So, wow! Yes! Praise the Lord!