Just a quick note: this post is long, but I hope that you will take the time to read it!
So often we search for the answer to the things we face in our life...depression, our past, sin, grief, fear, shame, acceptance, love, our identity. I did this. I searched. I went from one thing to another just to have someone tell me or show me that I was "acceptable". Soon I carried around a load of sin, a pile of a past, situations and events that choked the life out of me.
As I went through restoration and healing, the Lord gave me this story...I remember the morning I wrote it. I went for an early morning walk. I was telling myself how awful my body looked...even through I knew in my heart that my body didn't define me...I was bashing my life..."what if I hadn't gone to that party, made that choice, dated that person, married that person, betrayed that person...what if". I came home and sat on my bed, grabbed my journal, and this is what I wrote:
The weight of the past dragged behind her. It was like dragging around a suitcase that was stuffed so full it could barely shut. It was heavy. It was bulky. It was impossible to pick up so it up so it had to be drug behind he.r It was connected to her by chains that resembled handcuffs. There was no key to be found. It was attached to her with no hope of being released. Some days she walked through the day, but forgetting what was even in the suitcase. It was just so heavy. Some days the heaviness was evident from the moment her eyes opened in the morning, while still lying in bed, too tired from the weight to swing her legs to the carpeted floor.
When would she find the key to unlock and release this suitcase from her body? When would the heaviness leave her so she could move with ease and grace? When would she get through her day with the ability to focus on others instead of the weight of the stuff dragging along with her? She was so tired. Her body hurt. Her heart was deflated. Her strength was gone. Her vision was blurred. Her hearing was impaired. The path in front of her seemed over grown with weeds.
The talk of moving forward seemed impossible. The talk of making it through the day seemed like too much work.
Where was the key that would unlock the heavy burdens? Where was it hiding? She had looked everywhere. Her friends didn't have it. Her family didn't have it. Her kids didn't have it. The world that promised they had it really didn't. The person she trusted with her heart said he had it, but he never really did. Who was holding on to the key? Why couldn't she find it and just unlock the chains?
One day the Word of God was given to her. It was full of promises. The words were amazing. The stories were fascinating. The emotion was overwhelming. She read that book over and over. She heard others speak about it. She picked up book after book that expanded on it. She sought counsel to help her understand it. But that suitcase was still there, dragging behind her.
Some days it felt lighter as though a piece of its contents were taken out.
She asked over and over to the people she trusted..."When will this be over? When will I be free? When can I stop dragging around this heaviness? I am so tired. I want it to be over."
The more she read the Word of God that had been given to her, it began to seep in to her hear. Many days sh read it and was so happy for the other people that it was meant for. She knew they were loved and blessed. She knew they had hope, mercy, forgiveness, and grace. She prayed for them. She began to speak truth to them.
Years were going by. Days were piling on top of one another. The weight of the "suitcase" was beginning to steal her life. Not just her physical life, but her emotional and spiritual life. She realized she was adding to it little by little as each day went by. As soon as one thing was gone, she grasped on to just a piece of its fabric because it was all she knew. She couldn't let the whole thing go or she would feel naked and alone and she would not know who she was anymore.
She wondered why she would want to hold on to the things that hurt her so much...the things that made her sick, that made her cry and sad and feel paralyzed.
As the Word was planted in her heart she wondered, what if each time she took something out of the suitcase she could just give it to Jesus. What if she not only have it to him, but she told him she trusted him to throw it over his shoulder and never to give it back? What if she really believed that he would take it? What if she really believed that when she held on to it so tightly that she was being selfish and self absorbed. What if she really grasped the idea that Jesus walked to a cross knowing he was going to die a painful death, just to save her. What if she realized that as he was walking to that cross, he was NOT thinking about what she wore yesterday or what her physical appearance was, but he was picturing what her heart looked like?
What if she knew He was praying that she would realize that he loved her so much, that he was going to die for her? He longed for her to realize that He was the way...the truth...the life. He longed for her to know that He was the only truth.. He never wanted her to have all of those burdens or all of that weight that she drug behind her. He was grieving with each step he took up to that cross knowing she was going to go so long with out realizing this. He thought about her with each step he took. And even though he grieved over he length of time she would chain that heavy suitcase to her, He rejoiced in the day she would hear the Word and realize that it was written for her, that the moment his flesh died, she was set free. He rejoiced int eh day she realized that the lies spoken to her were lies and that He was "truth". He rejoiced in the day when all she knew she had to do was love hima nd know he loved her back.
One day she stopped looking down and started looking forward. One day she knew that she couldn't drag around that weight anymore. One day she knew that when Jesus was walking to that cross it was her he was thinking about too. It wasn't just her friend or the person sitting next to her. And when she bean to realize that and really understand it, she looked at Jesus from a different view and there she saw it. His hand was extended. It always had been but she hadn't seen it. All she could see was the suitcase. She wasn't looking forward, she was looking behind her. It was there all along. Jesus knew she would see it one day. He held out his hand the whole time, until she was able to get him in to focus.
And it wasn't even a key he was holding in his hand. But what she saw as a scar...a wound that had healed. She had searched her whole life for a key. A certain size or shape or perfect fit to unlock the chains. Nothing ever fit. She was searching for the wrong thing. Jesus had it all along. His scars. His love. His forgiveness. His patience. Him. It was Him. It was the walk to the cross. It was the sacrifice He made. It was the death of his flesh and the resurrection from the grave.
His scars were the key. His scars are the key.
Her hand extended and touched the scar...she said she could see it. There was no excuse anymore to not see the scars, the love, the sacrifice. She had been reading about it, talking about it, sharing it with others, but she never really grasped the concept of the scars for herself. As soon as she understood that there was no ther choice than to believe it for herself, she felt the chains begin to break. At first she wanted to run back and grab on to that suitcase for dear life. Everything she based her existence on for more than 40 years was in that suitcase and without it what would she clothed herself in?
But Jesus said look at my scars. He said I love you and thought of you with each step to that cross. He said if you will take my hand and touch my scars you will now be "clothed in strength". You will now be free of the chains and I will tell you which way to go when you "stand at the crossroads". That suitcase is no longer needed. That weight is no longer there. Let it go and take my scarred hand and know I did it for you.
"For the Lord will go ahead of you. Yes the God of Israel will protect you from behind (Isaiah 52:12) He is ahead of you...he is behind you...protecting you...guiding you...loving you...you are forgiven.
The key is the SCARS...the key is the love...the key is His forgiveness.