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adversity, joy
Wear your scars with joy!

Those of us who have studied the Bible or heard Bible stories have many Bible characters that we hold in high esteem. We hear of the troubles they go through and their resulting victories and we sit on the side lines, clap our hands and say either, "I would have done better than they did" or "I could never be that bold or committed." We see how God brought them out of adversity to victory but we often fail to recognize the diploma they received from the University of Adversity.

Lets look at a few like Job, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and Paul. Certainly Job received back twice what he lost but did he have scars from the boils all over his body for the rest of his life? And what about the sadness of the loss of his first children? Jacob wrestled with God and won on the basis of God's promises to him. But he walked with a limp from a deformed hip the rest of his life. We all know about how Joseph moved from prisoner to prince of Egypt in one day but he wore the scars from the manacles on his wrists and feet the rest of his life. And wouldn't it be wonderful to worship in the presence of God so closely that your face shown in His glory for the rest of your days as Moses' face did? Of course you would be run from and rejected by your people as well. The Apostle Paul says in Galatians 6:17 that he bore scars in his body that marked him as belonging to Jesus. How many scars were there from multiple beatings, ship wrecks, lions in arenas and even being stoned to death. Have you ever imagined that?

So we go through adversity as well, as we follow Jesus. Our scars may not be external but may be just as big internally. In fact, when the cost of following Jesus in close intimacy is actually realized it can be daunting and many run from it.

However, anyone who has chosen that intimacy no matter the cost, will say, "Jesus and His intimate love is so worth it!"

These scars are the diploma from the University of Adversity from which we all must graduate to be truly close to Jesus. The scripture says, "He is a man of Sorrows and acquainted with grief." Isaiah 53:3. To be close to Him is to partake in His suffering.

So if you've been feeling beaten down. If you've been feeling sorry for yourself and how meanly others have treated you for no good reason, step-up and pick up your diploma and cuddle up to Jesus. He truly gets it and will fill what you have lost with so much of His loving presence that you will find the cost was truly worth it. Wear your scars with joy. They mark you as one of Jesus' true heroes and dearly beloved!

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