Marks of Gratitude

For I bear on my body the scars that show I belong to Jesus. (Galatians 4:17, NLT)

It’s hard—to feel grateful especially when we find ourselves in the middle of suffering. Many of us who understand suffering and pain often carry the scars to prove it.

There are many different types of scars. Some of my scars come from playing wildly as a little girl. The scar on my forehead reminds me of the fun times I had with my sisters, while the big one on my knee takes me back to the time when I pushed my little brother on his bike and I fell on a huge piece of glass. In all honesty, I don’t mind looking at these scars. I enjoy sharing the stories behind these, but the ones deep inside me—those bring me to my knees.

I can’t help but pray when I remember those scars. Those scars—the deep, painful ones—often times help me to reflect on God’s mercy. They remind me to thank the Lord for His provision. That’s the thing about these kinds of scars; they help us remember God’s grace, healing and faithfulness.

These deep-rooted scars also provide us with our stories. That’s what makes all of our stories different, unique and so very special. These scars remind us of our history and they give us hope for the future. They don’t make us ugly; they make us beautiful because we get to see Christ in each other’s lives.

Often times however, we look at our scars and we lose faith that our God has our best interests at heart and in our desperation we stop talking both to God and to others. The apostle Paul writes, “Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.” (Rom. 8: 35, 37, NLT)

I guess I will always find it difficult to thank God during times of suffering. Self-pity just seems like the norm sometimes. For that reason, I strive to stay on my knees, thanking the Lord for His work on the cross and the abundance of grace that He showers me with every day.

What kind of suffering are you experiencing in your life that seems impossible to overcome? How can you be thankful in times like these? God reminds us that His strength is made perfect in our weakness. I encourage you today to surrender your suffering to God with an open heart and seek His direction in your life.  ~Raquel


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