I’ve been reading about a woman named Kara Tippets in the last few days. She’s not that famous so don’t worry if you’ve never heard about her. She was a Christian woman who braved a season of cancer while raising four children and serving her God.
I think what made her stand out the way she did was how vocal she was about her struggle living with cancer and preparing for her life to end (she had gotten to that stage). She was quoted saying “I feel like I’m a little girl at a party whose dad is asking her to leave early. And I’m throwing a fit. I’m not afraid of dying. I just don’t want to go.”
She shared her story everywhere they would let her and she narrated instances where People were surprised seeing her step on a stage so boldly without hair on her head and her dry pale skin. She didn’t cover the effects of cancer or chemotherapy on her body, she wore her scars boldly and it sort of made people uncomfortable. She noted that some people couldn’t even look her in the eye when she spoke to them, almost like they were embarrassed on her behalf or maybe just too consumed in pity that they didn’t want to risk communicating it through their eyes.
Reading about her made me realise that we live in a fallen world and as such, it’s fine that the evidence of it is sometimes seen. Especially as Christians, we have a tendency to hush up when it comes to our struggles like illnesses or family issues in fear that people would judge our God because of what we’re going through, but we need to know that there’s no need covering up shame that is not our own.
Actually, there’s nothing shameful about struggles that we have to endure because of the nature of the fallen world that we live in. Those situations are often avenues for God to receive glory and so each time we insist on concealing the broken parts of our lives to save face or ‘protect Gods name’, we’re actually robbing God an opportunity to show Himself as God.
It hit hard for me because I remember when my dad suffered a stroke in 2016, I had heard so much about strokes and seen stroke patients but it was such a distant reality to me until it was my dad, it affected the left part of his body and till today he still goes through physiotherapy.
I hated talking about it so much, at first I thought it was because it hurt my heart too much but later I realised it was shame more than anything, until I sat one day and asked myself why I was carrying shame that I didn’t cause and couldn’t cure and as I sat and meditated, God spoke to me and assured me that it’s the natural human response to anything that seems outside the ordinary, and also assured me that we’re doing Him no favour in concealing our brokenness.
God started to teach me that we can and should go out bare & unveiled and trust that while people might not fully understand something, God does and He’ll touch the hearts of people through it all. Just like people encouraged Kara to wear wigs or put on makeup to appear more... not sick. Lol
It’s ironic that the world that is fallen rejects it’s fallen state, but for us as believers, rather than deny or reject it’s fallen state, we can rejoice that our God has opportunities all around us to be God.
Suffering isn’t evidence of our sin or our nature, it is one of the fallen world that we live in and so we shouldn’t count it against each other instead stand and give support to one another as we see that great day approaching.
Like Kara, let’s not make our struggles secrets, let’s show the weakness so that when strength comes, they can see it too. The bible says to “…rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.”
1 Peter 4:13
1 Peter 4 referenced suffering for being a Christian, but that isn’t limited to persecution, it includes all the other sufferings that come just because of the nature of this world; the illnesses, the family issues, sometimes even the lack.
One of my favourite teachers says that when we get to heaven, we won’t only recognise Jesus by the crown on His head, we’ll also recognise Him by the nail pierced scars on His hand, so please don’t own shame that isn’t your own, don’t cover scars that tell of Gods glory.
Kara Tippets died at 38 after pouring herself out to this world in-spite of the darkness of cancer.