What hurts us is often hidden. It limps behind our pursuit of purpose. It cowers in the shadow of broken dreams. It is often protected by tears or the passage of time.
But when pain gains a voice it can gain a lot of volume. It can sharpen the tongue or get stares from a crowd. In Luke 7, I met a woman unleashing her load in an unusual way. She belonged to a society of outcast.
If she wore a t-shirt it would read, “SPENT.” Stressed Perverse, Empty, Neglected and Tired.”
She used to dream of getting a new start. But eventually, she checked all of the “SPENT” boxes. Until she heard the Savior was in town.
She listened to two men talking. One said, “Jesus is here. Did you see him?” She displayed disinterest at first. And yet, she wondered if the rumors were true. Did Jesus really have a huge heart and healing hands?
As she looked in the men’s direction, they frowned and stepped a few feet away. She turned her back, but not her attention, as the other man said, “He’s at Mr. Pharisee’s house for dinner.” This was all she needed to know.
Approaching the house that held her hope, her hands begin to tremble. As she entered the door, immediately, the whispers began. “Oh no. Not her.” She stumbled slightly as she stepped over insults. Just as the host thought to himself, “Who does she think she is?” she collapsed on the floor behind Jesus. As she gathered her thoughts, she clung to her alabaster jar of expensive fragrant oil.
The pricey perfume hinted at the potential of the moment. What force would dominate the atmosphere? Which statement would define her identity? She considered the criticism of the crowd.
She chose Love instead.
Kneeling before Christ, she realized there was nothing between them except grace.
No more whispers.
No more crowd.
No more guilt.
His dusty feet must have reminded her of the long road that brought her there. And yet, despite her poor past choices, she made the best choice she could make; she worshipped Him. She washed His feet with her custom blend of sacrifice.
The oil was expensive but her tears were more costly. Together they made quite a statement. Her tresses became a towel to dry His feet from her offering. After years of being spent, redemption had finally come.
No, it’s not this woman’s name. It’s the pivot to her story. I marvel at her courage. I’m annoyed by her haters. I’m in love with her King. You see, He’s my King too. I’ve had similar moments with Jesus. Mostly, in private. It happens whenever I realize I’m living a SPENT life.
At first, brokenness feels like an unreasonable call. It is when my pain prompts an offering. It happens as I realize the hollow places in my soul can only be filled by the hugeness of God.
His forgiveness overwhelms. His healing makes me whole and there is freedom from whatever holds me hostage.
Pain can plant purposeful seeds in the soil of God’s grace. As I water the possibility in faith, a treasure in my trauma is found. Jesus meets me at my point of need and I discover there is beauty in brokenness.
Through Him, I am able to get up and fight on. I am able to believe. Receive. Forgive. Thrive.
If we’re stressed, perverse, empty, neglected or tired, here’s some good news: Whether it is heartache or sin damage, it doesn’t compare to God’s love. Today is a good day to let Him in. Hear the welcoming voice of the Father offering hope for the heart and joy to the soul.
“Going through the motions doesn’t please you, a flawless performance is nothing to you. I learned God-worship when my pride was shattered. Heart-shattered lives ready for love don’t for a moment escape God’s notice.” – Psalms 51:16-17 MSG
Congratulations to Rahama Harewood, the winner of last week's giveaway of 40 Days of Decrease by Alicia Britt Chole!