not forgotten

The shepherds, considered too weak and unfit for real work, were usually elderly, women or young people. David, the runt of his family was a shepherd. Rachel was a shepherdess. Moses, a felon and outcast, became a shepherd in his exile.

So then, why? Why did God choose to reveal his Son to poor shepherds?

It is no small detail that God chose the temple shepherds of Bethlehem who cared for the lambs of sacrifice that atoned for the people’s sins, to announce the coming of the lamb of God who would take away the sin of the entire world until the end of time.

It’s of no small consequence that he orchestrated the very first census in recorded history of an entire nation. a grand collaboration and alignment of events, so that Mary and Joseph would be in the city of David at the time of His birth. This is the very town that in Micah 5:2 is described by both it’s names: Bethlehem meaning house of bread and Ephrathah meaning fields of fruit (for wine), for He who would be bread of life and whose blood would atone for the sins of all mankind.

And while the grand alignment of these multiple facts and events is amazing in and of itself, even more amazing is that I am in those details. he didn’t just call the shepherds to the big event, he called everyone who feels forgotten, unworthy, unqualified, lowly, and marginalized by society. He sought me out.

This amazing history altering event was emerging. And while his coming was for all people, nations, men and women and generations for all time, His coming was especially for those of us who are lost, tired, bruised, broken, weak, diminished, and defenseless. He came for those that the world disregards and casts aside.

And so that we would not miss it, or make the mistake of thinking this gift was not especially for me and for you, he marks this announcement with a display of glory and an entire chorus of angels. He knew we were hurt. He knew we would be afraid. Unsuspecting and caught off guard by such a generous gift, use to being overlooked, we would be frozen with astonishment at being remembered so audaciously.

And behold, an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the glory of the Lord flashed and shone all about them, and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people. For to you is born this day in the town of David a Savior, Who is Christ (the Messiah) the Lord! [Mic. 5:2.] (Luke 2:9-11 AMP)

He crossed the crowded room of VIP’s to extend His hand to the forgotten. He called himself the Good Shepherd and associated himself with the least qualified in society, escorting them to front row seats to not only witness the greatest moment of history, but forever be part of the story alongside kings and wise men.

He has qualified the unqualified. He has pursued us. He has invited us in.

show me your scars

” We serve a very persistent God. I might give up, but He never does.”

Not long ago I had the opportunity to hear a compelling testimony that challenged me. Tim Johnson was diagnosed with cancer at the prime of his life. With two small children, and a grim diagnosis, he made a choice:” I was not going to let my thoughts lie to me and tell me things were hopeless. I knew God was working and I didn’t want to miss out on what he would do.”

Tim’s story is an honest biography of the battle fought inside the mind, whether fighting cancer or any other personal crises, often our greatest struggle is against depression. Our success or failure against negative thoughts is the determinant, dictating whether we are on the road to healing, or further hurt.

Often we hear the stories of miraculous healing, and testimonies of how the person never lost hope even when the odds were completely against them. That’s great. What a blessing to be able to withstand so constantly! We all strive for it. But for those of us that have ever struggled with keeping our thoughts positive, and have struggled with feelings of worthlessness, helplessness, resentment, bitterness, and even anger, then Tim’s story will help you.

By enduring unimaginable struggle, he has crossed the threshold to experience God more intimately than most of us have experienced. His perseverance is inspiring and challenging. “I was meant to be more than a conqueror. I was meant to be a liberator…”

In one poignant portion of Tim’s biography, he confesses that immediate healing would have robbed him of the opportunity to see God reveal Himself to him and through him. That is a statement of trust. What if Christ hadn’t suffered agony? What if his prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane had been answered? If it is your will, take this suffering from me. What if there had been no scars? Would the sacrifice, this act of salvation, had such a lasting and changing effect on us hundreds of years later?

Without fear, doubt or uncertainty, there would be no repentance, there would be no wonder of remission, there would be no rising. Our strength comes from the intimate knowledge of Christ’s identity and saving power. Our resulting relationship carries with it the privilege and responsibility to show our scars, God’s opportunity to reveal Himself through me to others.

It’s because he pulls us from the depths of our darkness and suffering, that we are so very grateful. The change is tangible. The change is undeniable. We can see again.