God Uses the Hard Times
by Cara Sexton
There are different kinds of truth telling. There’s a height above laundry piles and laughter. There’s a depth below bad-hair days and fast-food confessions. When I said yes to coordinating a book about authenticity, about the raw and real baring of our souls for a holy, redemptive purpose, I did so without anything in particular to say but with an open heart to see what he had to show me. I did so because this project was his from the beginning. It has always been his. And now, three years after God stirred my own scarred and broken heart with the whisper of his love for the scarred and broken depths of yours, I know one thing I didn’t know when I started.
Together we are a living mosaic—a tiled path winding through the beauty and pain of human experience and leading toward redemption
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 8:37-39 ESV)
You’ve heard the verses before. You may have even sung the songs. But do you know this, really, to be true? Do you know that your wounds, too, are welcome? Do you know that the soul-bare places, the sights and sounds of your life that you shelter from public display, belong to him? That he resides there? That he redeems there? My prayer for you, reader, is that you do. That you always will. And that these pages will remind you. The stories [in Soul Bare] were each written by a different author, all of them telling their own redemptive soul-bare truth.
To tell our truth is to link arms across the divides that keep us out, to close the gaping lie that says our wounds do not matter. Together we are a living mosaic—a tiled path winding through the beauty and pain of human experience and leading toward redemption, and this book, together with your own soul-bare story, is a work of art that speaks of forgiveness, grace and healing. We tell the stories of life and love, bound together in the perfection and completion of Christ’s great sacriﬁce. The very Word of God is, after all, a collection of broken stories about broken people just like us. Your story is your own and has been written by the Creator with purpose. Even if your edges are chipped, your story is beautiful. Tell it.
Excerpt from Soul Bare (InterVarsity Press, 2016).
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