Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Hast thou no scar?

When God was converting Saul (Paul), he didn't suggest that anyone tell him how much rosier his life would be with Christ. Instead he promised Ananias that:

"I will show him how much he must suffer for my name." Acts 9:16

That was God's appeal to Saul? Is that how we sell the Gospel? Paul later seemed to assume that suffering for Christ was a proof of our usefulness to him.

"Are they servants of Christ?-- I speak as if insane-- I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death." 2 Cor 11:23

Is that how we assess God's movement? Do we brag that we are suffering? Or do we rather brag about the great band at church, or the new coffee bar where we have "fellowship."

Those who have had the greatest beneficial impact on the church throughout history have all gone through tremendous personal suffering. Why do we think this norm should not apply to Americans? Are we exempt?

"Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory." Rom. 8:17

Why do we not preach suffering with Christ as a sign that we truly have been adopted into his family?

Hast thou no scar?
No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand?
I hear thee sung as mighty in the land;
I hear them hail thy bright, ascendant star.
Hast thou no scar?

Hast thou no wound?
Yet I was wounded by the archers; spent,
Leaned Me against a tree to die; and rent
By ravening beasts that compassed Me, I swooned.
Hast thou no wound?

No wound? No scar?
Yet, as the Master shall the servant be,
And pierc├Ęd are the feet that follow Me.
But thine are whole; can he have followed far
Who hast no wound or scar?

--Amy Carmichael--

1 comment:

Cass said...

Some Christians do preach "suffering with Christ as a sign". For example, C.S. Lewis in his space trilogy, where Ransom bears that wound in his foot that won't heal. Then, too, there's deep undertones of his theology behind the unfading pain and solitary trouble of Tolkien's Frodo.

The truth you're noticing here--with such nice! lines by Amy Carmichael--has been made clearest to me under the name, the Doctrine of Redemptive Suffering. It's why Catholics mostly wear those pretty crucifixes, all bounden with the mournful corpse of Christ, as opposed to plain crosses.