I have learned again and again that God wastes NOTHING of the experiences in our lives. I hate it when people say "Everything happens for a reason!" but I have come to understand that even the vilest things that happened to me have been used by God to help other people find some hope. I have found hope in the stories of others, thinking "If God can do that for them, surely he can do it for me." It is interesting that the most shameful parts of our lives have the potential to shine the brightest light on what God is able to do.
Don't get me wrong, I wasn't always able to see the value in the bad experiences in my life, but as I have shared that God can bring healing out of the deepest scars, I am seeing this truth more and more. . It has taken time and healing to get to this point, and is it not perfect, but it is a good point to be at most days.
There is something amazing about looking in the eyes of someone who has heard the achingly painful, teary-eyed, snotty nosed version of my story, and hearing them say "You, too? I thought I was the only one, and I have been so ashamed!" It is in those moments that my worry about oversharing fades away. Instead, I am reminded that it is in being transparent, vulnerable, and authentic that God's story is revealed.
The stories of the men and women in the Bible are more than filler. They point us to the very character of God. They remind us that he chose drunks, whores, philanderers, and cheats to star in his story along with his blameless, perfect Son. Those lives, the people that we might dismiss as not being able to be of use to a holy God, are the very ones he chose, the ones we refer to all the time. Their lives are the tales that give us hope, even though they went through much suffering.
And so it is with us, even though we may think that we are not worth anything and that our pasts or presents are too shameful, God sees his children, loves us, and when we are able to do it, entrusts us to tell the stories of the fact that he is in the redemption business.
But it is for this reason I was given mercy: by displaying His perfect patience in me, the very worst of all sinners, Jesus the Anointed could show that patience to all who would believe in Him and gain eternal life. 1 Tim 1:16 (The Voice)
This post was originally posted on 7/29/13 on my old site - Hope At The Center.