I am not sure how to start this post, other than to come right out and say, some of us have secrets. They are secrets we never thought we were going to have to keep. Dark secrets. Secrets that should not have to be kept. Secrets that should not have to be carried. You see, sometimes the secrets we carry are stories. Stories of the past. Stories of things that happened. Things we don't talk about, at least not enough. Often, they are not our stories to tell. Sometimes we are witnesses, or maybe we became burden bearers to help another carry the secret that has become a battle scar on their soul.
Too often, I hear well intended people say, "Let it go." "You'll get over it." "Move on." "It's not your cross to bear." But really, who are you to tell me that? Are you God, that you know which cross is mine and which is not? No, you are not.
There are battles that are fought, on plains some of you will never know. Please do not categorize my war wound with your paper cut. It is not the same. Yes, we can all say, we have been hurt. We can all probably say we have fought some sort of battle and probably have a scar or two. However, God has set some of us apart. Some of us have lost limbs. Some of us wake up every morning hoping that the nightmare we had wasn't true, but every morning remember that it is.
God has set some of us apart to bear scars. That is just the way it is. Yes, the wound will heal, but there will always be a scar. That scar is a reminder of so many things. It is a reminder of what could have been, but will never be. It is a reminder that God, who is sovereign and good, does not always withhold what is ugly and bad. It is a reminder of a time when innocence was nailed to a cross and sin won, even if only for a time. People say, "Your scars are beautiful." No, not really. Scars are pretty ugly. Sometimes even after they are completely healed, they throb, a constant reminder that all that was intended to be beautiful became ugly.
We could ask the question, why? Why does God allow some to wear the scars like armor plating and others to have little, if any, scars.
Job was a man who seemed to have everything. He was wealthy. He owned land and animals. He had a wife and family that he found true joy in. But, one day that was all swept away from him by a windstorm of the enemy so strong that it took his wealth and all of his children. His entire family and way of life was decimated. Though he and his wife survived, their pain endured. The thing I find most fascinating is this:
Four things stand out to me in these verses:
For real? How did this man, who had just lost everything, worship? When tragedy strikes it is not often our response to praise and worship God. More likely, we shake our fists at Him and ask, why? Why did You let this happen? Why didn't you stop it? You are almighty, why couldn't You have intervened? Why? Why? Why?
He Blessed God
He acknowledged God's sovereignty by admitting that it was God who gave the abundance and God who could and did take it away. He then says, "Blessed be the name of the Lord."
He Did Not Sin
There are many ways, Job could have sinned. In the very next chapter we see that the enemy again is allowed to strike Job, this time against his physical body with sores and boils. I think his wife had had enough by this point:
Cursing God, would certainly be on the top of the sin list. But Job didn't do that.
He Did not Blame God
Knowing that God is sovereign and that sovereignty by its very definition means that He controls all things, or He at least allows or disallows, as we saw in the the first portion of Job. He allowed Satan to afflict Job, first by taking his wealth and family and then by taking his health. In a sense, didn't Job have a right to blame God? If God is indeed the filter through which all things, both good and bad come into our lives, don't we have a right to shake our fist at Him and ascribe blame?
You might think I am bordering on blasphemy, but I am trying to make a point. It is easy to go down a path of anger and bitterness when bad things happen. It becomes even more difficult to carry these burdens, seemingly alone, when we cannot share a particular tragedy with others. There are a few important points to remember when faced with personal tragedy.
1. Look at the Whole of Scripture for Answers.
Taking one scripture, chapter or book and focusing on it alone, is not always the best idea. If people only read the Old Testament they would think of God as an overbearing being, who played with people's lives however He willed. The New Testament must also be considered to have a better understanding of who God is and how much He really does love us.
This verse is just as true as the verses above that tell us this same God let Satan beat up one of His most faithful servants. This same God who allows or disallows the scars and the secrets we have to carry is the God who works all these things for good. This same God who allows or disallows the tragedies also calls us and gives us a purpose. This leads me to the next point.
2. Sometimes the Scars are the Purpose.
None of us want to have scars. No one wants to have to carry dark, painful secrets, but often these burdens are placed on us to allow us the opportunity to grow more dependent on Him. There is nothing more important to God than His relationship with us. However, He is also a holy God and that holiness is extremely important to Him. He demands it of us, but the beauty of this omniscient, omnipotent being is that He gives us the ability to be holy through the blood of Jesus. This connection we have with His holiness enables us to bear the scars and carry the secrets.
Our scars and the burden of carrying secrets can make us more sensitive to the difficulties and heartbreak that other people are going through. God uses our scars to help others who are wounded and broken.
3. Place Your Complete Trust in Him.
A God who is trusted is also a God who heals. Yes, the scars will always be there, until we stand before His throne, but it is then that we will see how He used those scars to work out His good will in our lives and in the lives of those around us.
If you are carrying secrets that seem to heavy to bear, don't lean on your own understanding. Lean on Him. He will help you carry them.