Image “Kintsugi” by Guggger CC BY-SA 4.0
The truth is, we all have not just one testimony of our entire lives, but slivers of testimonies throughout our lives every time people can see Christ in us, especially in those times of pain or suffering. Sometimes the most effective testimonies to Jesus is the slivers of our lives where we have experienced splinters of pain.
It was C.S. Lewis who remarked that God shouts in our pain and uses it as “a megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” Sin is universal in our world. That’s our fault. Pain and suffering are also universal in the world. That’ sin’s fault.
Those areas where Jesus meets us in our pain are precisely those places where we can share the good news with others. In Patsy Clairmont’s, God Uses Cracked Pots, she paints the metaphor that though our lives have plenty of cracks, that doesn’t make them useless, but useful, because it’s through those very cracks that God’s Spirit is most clearly seen.
The Bible says that God’s “power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). We have the weakness; He has the power. It’s a great combination for showcasing God’s love and grace through us to others.
Centuries ago, the Japanese developed an art form (“Kintsugi”) to fix shattered pottery by filling the cracks with lacquer and then dusting them with gold or other precious metals. The finished product became more beautiful and valuable than the original intact piece.
And so with our lives, God works through our pains and suffering so that we can reach out to others in those same areas where God has healed us. Paul reminds the Corinthians of that truth:
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. (2 Corinthians 1:3-5 /ESV)
Though Paul’s original context referred to his own suffering for the benefit of the church in Corinth, the same principle holds true for us. People watch how we handle suffering. They watch the church minister to those most broken and in need. They see the love of Jesus on display.
Those places in our lives most tender, or most scarred, are precisely the areas where we bear testimony to others of God’s immeasurable love and grace.
Take some time frequently, to think through your past experiences. Recall those areas where God carried you through pain and suffering. Write out a short testimony that you could share in two minutes.
Why do I suggest short testimonies? Our nature is to dwell on ourselves. Remember, the slivers of our testimonies about the splinters of our lives are focused not on us, but on Jesus and the good news of His gospel.
Authored by Dr. David F. Ingrassia, Stewarding Pastor of Charlotte Awake