Her arm moved swiftly as she poured more ruby red ice tea into her glass cup, but in that quick, calculated movement I noticed them. I tried not to let my eyes linger, but I had to be sure. We were discussing matter of faith and theology, and I told myself to focus on the words currently tumbling out of her mouth, not the white scars painted across her wrist and forearm. Oh, but I did notice them. They were old and healing, but those discoloured marks cut into her skin were impossible to ignore.
This wasn’t the first time. I’ve noticed scars before- on wrists, on thighs, on forearms. Of girls I spent time with but didn’t really know. Girls that I’m sure never knew how I worried about and how much I cared about them. How dearly I desired to ask them of their story; ask them why the etched each scar into their beautiful bodies.
The scars say so much. Their red, white, and blue bruised colours are a collection of a thousand words carved into the skin, of emotions and questions they feel that cannot be expressed any other way.
The scars whisper to me: I’m hurting. I need to feel control over something. I have so much going on inside, can’t you see? Don’t you notice the pain I feel? Can’t you see that I’m hurting??
At this moment, I am staring at my computer screen, clutching my coffee and glancing at the leather bible located beside me- trying to figure out where in the world I had intended to go with this post. And sitting here, turning over the thoughts in my head, I find only one question burning on the tip of my tongue. Maybe you have asked it to.
How can the promise of a good God who speaks of bringing “life to the full,” be true, when millions of people are stumbling through their days begging to know if life is worth living and if joy even exists?
I see people who know no other way to deal with their pain that to hurt themselves. I see people who dream of death, because it seems like a much better option than waking up to another day on this earth. I see people sitting against on bed, staring hard at the painted walls of their room, wondering how it is possible to feel so absolutely alone in a world so full of people.
It breaks my heart to learn of the hurt and loneliness and despair of so many.
We are not created to be like this- overwhelmed with pain to the point that we inflict it on ourselves or wonder about ending it all.
Something inside me screams at this: it is not right.
Lurking within in me is a fierce cry for justice.
The idea of justice in it’s truest form. Shalom. Defined as peace but the words means much more than peace. True Shalom is for things to be as they were meant to be. It is just to see a bird fly, because they were created to do so. It is just for a man and women to make love on their wedding night, because sex was created to be sacred between two people within the confines of marriage.
Thus, it is JUST to experience a full life, one consumed by joy. Because we were designed to be one with God- to know joy, laugher and peace in the days of our lives.
And I do see that it is possible for a good God to exist in all the messiness. Because we have been promised a beautiful life, but only, and there is no other way- only through His grace. Only through trading our definition of a good life to Him, and letting Him fill our life with beauty.
You, with the dark eyes that burst with hard emotion and every question you beg an answer to. You, yes you, with the forced smile that curls your lips upwards but doesn’t reach your eyes. You, that drags yourself out of bed each morning just hoping to make it through another day. You, that feels as if you are drowning under a sea of pain and loneliness. You, that screams at the silence or at God; CAN ANYONE SEE THAT I’M HURTING? To you: you were not created for this. You were not designed for this mess of pain and hurt and dissatisfaction. You don’t have to hurt yourself to keep the world from hurting you.
You must know, you must believe: That you were designed by a good God for a joy-filled life, abundant with all shapes and sizes of beauty. He shed His blood for you, so that you no longer have to bleed. For, “ye are bought at a price.” Let the blood that dripped from His wrists, wash away the blood that trickles from your beautiful scars.
On days where you can hardly see straight because it hurts and life doesn’t make sense and all you can think about is trying to find a way to deal with it all- on those days- remember the promise of a good God and a beautiful life.
This is life is worth living.
There is much joy to be found in it.