Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Love and Grace (09/11/14)
- TITLE: Sweet Fragrance of Jesus
By Pauline Carruthers
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The silly remarks and jokes at my expense were, in themselves, nothing serious. Just someone trying to bring a little light relief into what had become a very heavy meeting. They weren’t to know the background of the person to whom those jokes were directed, nor the unbearable sensitivity and loneliness of living as a single parent family in the midst of a Christian Fellowship. What would have made them aware of the sense of failure and unworthiness, except through personal experience? A smile can hide the deepest feelings of humiliation and vulnerability. And I had spent most of my life up to that point, hiding behind a smile. My true feelings known only to God. The remarks and jokes persisted throughout every meeting, eventually creating in a bruised mind, an inner desire to be vindicated.
In the safety of my home I continually laid the hurt and anger at the foot of the cross. Letting go of hurt can be agonisingly painful, yet beautiful when submitted into our Father’s loving hands. A precious jewel for Jesus, moulded and formed from bitter tears and given in acceptance of His love and grace, in a life submitted to His will. He showed me that to hold it in my hand and give up my right to it, is infinitely precious to our Saviour. Vindication was not given to Jesus during His life on this earth. He did not seek it, nor did He cry out His innocence as He went to His death on the cross. But in deep overwhelming love and covered by grace, quietly submitted to His Father’s will, forgiving His persecutors and giving His life for those who loved Him. And for those who didn‘t.
‘Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8 NIV)
The Lord didn’t vindicate me and I longed for the day when I might have the courage to vindicate myself, prove my worth. Yet, when presented with the opportunity to humiliate this person as he had persistently humiliated me, I found that my Heavenly Father had been doing a precious work of love in my heart and I just couldn’t do it. His amazing grace was allowing me the opportunity for vindication, but also giving me the choice. I could either vindicate myself and hurt another, or allow Jesus to be the only one to know my pain. I wasn’t aware of making that choice, but it appeared that realisation had dawned in this person’s heart and the perception of wrong actions and words had pierced his soul. In that moment, though no words were exchanged, there was the most unexplainable love and forgiveness in my heart and an echoing sorrow and love in the other. When God is allowed freedom in our hearts, He works wonders in our soul and gently moulds our spirit in tune with His. In submission we find God’s grace sufficient for every situation. Yet it is still an ongoing battle to constantly display the nature of a true Christian, as opposed to the nature of the world.
‘But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved.’ (Ephesians 2:4-5 NIV)
Sometimes God has led me along paths where I have encountered thorns that have cut and wounded, but where His overwhelming love has healed and comforted. When I have been crushed like a rose trodden underfoot, His amazing grace has enfolded me and brought the sweet fragrance of Jesus from crushed petals.
Though this illustration might seem trivial in the light of the intense suffering of some, it was the forerunner to a bigger work that God had planned; a more real need to be vindicated. It was a foretaste of things to come and a lesson I had needed to learn and remember for the future.
to my Heavenly Father, who simply poured out His love and grace into a hurting heart. The remarks and jokes continued, creating in a bruised mind an inner desire to be vindicated. I prayed that Jesus would create the opportunity for vindication and prior to every meeting would think up clever and witty retaliatory remarks, which in reality never emerged beyond lips silenced by a sense of inferiority.
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