Recently, I had the privilege of spending extra time with my ladies bible study group. As we fellowshipped over gumbo and cake, the conversation somehow found it’s way to possums. One of the ladies was very knowledgable on the subject. I don’t know that much about them so I was intrigued. She was informing us of their usefulness in that they eat bugs. More possums = less bugs/roaches in the yard which is always a good thing in my book. Not to mention that, depending on where you live in the US, possum may be considered a delicacy. Now, that type of usefulness does not interest me one bit!
The other ladies were commenting on the possum’s appearance and their consensus was that the possum’s ugliness was a more dominate factor than its usefulness. It was then that I made the statement, “So, although they are ugly they serve a purpose.” Everyone laughingly agreed.
Later, while driving home, I began thinking more about the possum conversation and the closing statement I had made. That’s when the thought came to me, “The ugliness in our lives serves a purpose just as the ugly possum serves a purpose.” Who knew that so much value could come from a short conversation about possums.
The ugly things in our lives can look like addiction, adultery, incarceration, divorce, abortion, sexual immorality. They can even look like anger, bitterness, envy, gossip, lying, stealing and hatred. Oh, and let’s not omit the ugliness that can be done to us such as: sexual abuse, physical abuse and emotional abuse, just to name a few.
I know that, in my own life, God has used the ugliness to reveal my need for Him. It also gives me a great sense of gratitude for His redemption and forgiveness. Not to mention that it keeps me humble and relying on Him and His mercy. Through the realization of His mercy toward me, I have been able to forgive the ugliness that has been done to me by others.
The ugliness in our lives is not only useful to us but God uses it to help others through us. It reminds us to be compassionate toward others who are going through some of the same things we’ve gone through. Anyone can say that they understand your struggle or pain but until they have walked in your shoes it’s just not the same. We may have words of encouragement or wisdom that only come from having the same ugliness in common with another person.
We can tend to be ashamed of our ugliness and try to hide it behind walls that we have built to protect ourselves. Sure, we will be safe from criticism and judgment behind those walls. But it’s important to remember that the same walls that keep us safe also keep us imprisoned and defeated. There is power in transparency and vulnerability. In our translucency we are saying, “I don’t care what you think of me. I trust God to use the ugliness in my life to help someone else and to set me free.” This is truly a beautiful thing!
I tried to hide the ugliness for a long time until I met someone who was going through the same ugliness as I was. She was so open about it. I was shocked by her willingness to be exposed. Her act of bravery changed me forever. It taught me that if I keep the ugly parts of my life hidden they are wasted but if I share them, allowing God to use them to encourage others, they become beautiful and meaningful. Isaiah 61:3 For those who grieve in Zion-to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.
What if the ugliness in the lives of the people in the Bible had not been exposed? If that were the case we would barely have a Bible at all. For example: Paul traveled around having Christians put to death and imprisoned. David was an adulterer and a murder. Moses killed an Egyptian and tried to hide the body. Tamar dressed as a prostitute so she could get pregnant by her father-in-law. Simon Peter denied Christ three times in one night. Jonah had a problem obeying the Lord and wanting to do things his own way. Despite all of their ugliness God used them to change the world and fulfill their purpose and His plan.
Who’s life could you change by revealing the ugliness in yours? Let’s be brave! Let’s make a difference! Let’s not allow the ugliness in our lives to be wasted. Let’s allow God to use it and turn it into something beautiful.
If you would like to accept Christ as your savior pray the following prayer: Dear God, I know I’m a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.