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Shattered and Scattered

John 16:32

The disciples had witnessed many miraculous things and received powerful teaching from The Supreme Teacher. They believed He was the Son of God, the Redeemer and the promised Messiah.  If anyone asked them they were quick to tell who He was, but now He was telling them He was going away – going back to The Father.  Jesus was telling them that in a short while, they would scatter and leave Him alone.  They didn’t believe Him.

How could they leave Him?  How could He leave them? The thought of it sounded crazy but it happened.

Don’t we do the same thing?

We have preconceived notions of God and how He’s going to bless us and work things out in our lives.  That’s as real as our faith is to that point.  That’s what we’re taught and we believe God (and Jesus) are who they say they are and we live based on our faith as we know it.

What if the unthinkable happens, though, do we still believe?  What if your child gets sick, you lose your job, you lose everything you have, your spouse dies.  When God allows you to be shattered, will you still choose to love God and trust Him or will you “scatter”?

Although I have been blessed with my heart’s desire and am physically living in it, it hasn’t been easy or even pleasant at times.  My perception of “trust”…of even who I thought God was and certainly how He would see to me have totally disintegrated.  Shattered, I became scattered and my God – I thought – had failed me.

I think God allows extremes to take us to the “next level” – if we choose to go.  We don’t have to.  Many have abandoned their faith in God when He allows extremes.  When we’re smashed with something we don’t see coming, we’re rattled, and perhaps for a moment, knocked off our foundation.

Many times, all we can do is believe in Him and choose NOT to believe what we feel and see.  I’ve said that many times.  In brokenness and despair when everything around is distorted and we’re shattered to our core, ready to cut and run (or lay down and die) – we’re at a crossroad of giving in or going on.  Will we choose to still trust Him?  Will we muster the strength to take one more step with Him?

The disciples did scatter when Jesus was arrested but something made them remain in the distance to see what happened.  They saw Him tortured, watched Him die and His body be buried. They gathered together in their grief only to see Him return to them more alive than He had ever been.  The first thing He said to them was “PEACE”.

During the shattered times, if we choose to hang on through what we go through He will do the same for us.  He’ll bring us back together, repair our shattered hearts and seal in us a much stronger faith…if we only believe.  He’s done that for me in ways I can’t begin to tell you.  He’ll do the same for you if you’ll hold on just a bit longer.

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The Other Side of Beautiful.

I live in a cabin that’s almost 240 years old. Oh if the walls could talk. Andrew Jackson has stood in my living room in front of this fireplace; it’s been said Daniel Boone walked across the front yard. There is all kinds of history on this property.

The cabin has (what I call) character and is a story within itself. Some look at it and see its faults and everything that needs to be fixed but I see the beautiful. It does need work and on the side where nobody can see the beginnings of renovation is taking place. From the visible side, it looks much better.

The side you can’t see shows what it’s been through. If you choose to see that side, you have to walk around to where you can. Nobody sees it unless they make the effort to see it.

We’re much like this historical cabin. We all have a side we don’t show (or try not to) to the world. We choose to let others see our beautiful, our socially acceptable, try-to-fit-in-and-be-good self; the everything-is-fine-and-I-love-life self. The majority only care about that side of us; few ever venture “around the house” to see the other less exposed side, the self we work so hard to hide.

If you’ve lived a few years, you’ve weathered some storms and if others look close enough, they can see it. You’ve been hurt, wounded, made some mistakes and have the scars and marks to prove it. Everyone has another side of beautiful. Everyone. Everyone has a side they don’t really want others to see. Some, though, can’t help but show it. They’re the ones we see on the streets with no place to call home, no resources and no people supporting them. We try not to look because we want to see beautiful; we want someone else to help them. Those closest to you – just like you – have a side that is less than beautiful. We all have a side we would just as soon not show.

Look at them the next time you can. LOOK at the people with you in the checkout line at the store. LOOK at them and pray for them. Ask God for opportunities to smile at them and look them in the eye and ways to help. They’re beautiful too! Others you’re exposed to have deep places and fears they don’t share with anyone. They may need a positive, encouraging word or smile to let them know they’re not alone and they are loved, ugly and all.

God loves us despite of and IN spite of our ugly. He KNOWS our other side of beautiful and has chosen to love us anyway! He wants to touch our ugly and heal us. He wants to do a major renovation in us and He will if we let him. He will even use our other side to encourage someone else if we’ll let Him.

The next time you’re seeing beautiful in others and places think about what you don’t see. Be thankful for the beautiful and pray God is allowed to touch the other side and make it beautiful too.