It is generally known that a lot of what I do and say happens without me thinking it through all the way. This fact has left me bleeding and scarred, literally, on two separate occasions this week. On Monday of this week, I was playing volleyball and through a series of terrible rallies and bad passes, the bright yellow ball ended up stuck high in a tree. “Okay,” I thought, “I’m the only one who is 5’10” here and even though I still can’t reach it, I might be able to shake the ball out of the tree.” With this brilliant idea planted in my brain, I quickly reached up and wrapped the lowest branch tightly in my fist. Just as quickly, my hand sent neurons to my brain yelling, “Ow! Ow!” I had forgotten a very significant detail: most all of Botswana trees are covered with thorns the size of tooth picks. I jerked my hand away, leaving three small cuts in my hand and one miniscule tip of a thorn. Though the wounds were small, they were incredibly painful especially when put in water.
Just as my wounds were beginning to heal nicely and it no longer hurt to stretch my hand, another thoughtless injury occurred. Today, after packing my suitcase to move to my host home I remembered that I had forgotten both my shampoo and razor in the shower. After retrieving the items, I unzipped the suitcase only halfway and began to stuff in the large bottle. This didn’t work very well…
Now, I’m not sure what prompted me to put my razor in first, but I did. Face up. This may go down in history as my worst idea ever.
Without thinking, I shoved my shampoo bottle in the suitcase, taking off part of my right pinky finger in the process.
After cleaning and bandaging my wound I immediately began to think of the pain I would have when showering and washing my hands as the cut stung immensely when wet.
Fast forward to about three o’clock this afternoon when we (Chelsea, Drew, and I) attended G-West’ s youth service. The pastor put in a Louie Giglio sermon and at some point during the video there was a picture put on the screen that touched my heart. It was a picture of Jesus, His face bloody, tired, and pained. In that moment, I imagined the salty sweat that was surely flowing steadily into his fresh and open wounds. I imagined the burning sensation I felt on my finger and in the cuts on my hand and multiplied it by a thousand. This was what he endured for me. My sin, my shame was the reason His skin was ripped open and His blood was poured out. My sin—and yours.
It could’ve been me there on that cross. In fact, it should’ve been me. It should have been my pain. It should have been my sweat. It should have been my blood running down that splintered wood and pooling in the dust. It should’ve been me.
But instead, He willingly took my place.
What an amazing display of love this is: that He—the Creator of the world, the Lord over all the nations—took my place.
And how shameful it is that sometimes I forget or even undermine the suffering He endured.
Oh Lord of Heaven, You are beautiful. I can never say thank you enough for taking my place there on that cross. Remind my soul constantly of the sacrifice you made on my behalf. I love You more than mere words could describe. May I never forget how beautiful, how merciful, how perfectly wonderful You are.