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Dancing with the Scars 

“The joy of our heart is ceased; our dance is turned into mourning.” Lamentations 5:15

The wildly popular television program called “Dancing with the Stars,” reigns atop pop culture. Other than rhyming scars with stars, there is little here in common with the program.  Except, that is, the idea of dancing—an act of celebration, of rejoicing, an expression of a festive attitude.  Dancing with scars appears strangely out of place.  Scars do not suggest joyful dancing.  Rather, ugly scars speak of shame, hurt, bitterness, and perhaps revenge.  Scars represent physical, emotional, psychological or spiritual pain. 

Jeremiah’s response to pain was one thing, but Paul’s perspective on scars seems strange.  His response baffled his enemies and angered the devil, but it inspired the church.  “I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.”  He was saying, “Go ahead. Look at my wounds, my losses and my defeats. You may think they will make me depressed. You may expect me to quit or crack up. But you would be mistaken. I view them with a sense of glory and honor. “But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world … for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” Galatians 6:14-18. Paul had physical evidence of his devotion to Christ. He was beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, assaulted, suffered hunger, thirst, cold and nakedness. 

Twenty-first century Christians live in an age when Christianity is under external and internal attack.  The cross has become trivial, or even embarrassing, to many.  We want ease, comfort and pleasant surroundings.  We want the sanctuary temperature just right, the length of service short, the music contemporary, the sermon both funny and serious—with refreshments.  We expect comfort, not pain; joy, not sorrow; roses without thorns; blessings without trials; privileges without responsibilities; and provision without sacrifice. 

No one can promise any of these things.  But even if the temperature is too hot or too cold, the music too far out or too traditional, the service too long or too short, the sermon too shallow or too deep, you can still have grace through it all.  If the time comes when you do have to walk through the valley of the shadow of death, look around.  You will see the Good Shepherd walking right beside you!   “And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.’” 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.  

Fanny Crosby, author of 8,000 hymns, was blind.  She was asked how she would know Jesus if she saw him.  She answered with this hymn: “I shall know him. I shall know him. And redeemed by his side I shall stand. I shall know him. I shall know him. By the prints of the nails in his hands.” Will you dance with your scars?  Will the joy within you rise higher than the pain outside of you?  “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you … but rejoice …  that you partake of Christ’s sufferings.” 1 Peter 4:12-13.  Someone said, “Life is not about learning to survive the storm, but rather learning how to dance in the rain.” 

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