Scratches in the Veneer

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I walk out of the grocery, pushing my small cart with one hand and holding my Starbucks coffee with the other. The rough and pot-holed pavement jolts the cart at every step. I frown as a small splash of coffee spurts out of the cup and pools in the white lid. Another step and a great toffee-colored splat hits my hand and my coat.

Two blots on my right sleeve.

My brow tightens.

I huff loudly.

The uphill journey to the car feels long as the bumps increase and my coffee flies like a puddled explosion before me time and again. The sting of embarrassment hits me with each drop of coffee. I start to wonder if there is much left in the cup. And, just as I reach my car, I breathe deep and repress the sticky hand itching to sling the coffee full-force at the affronting pavement because I just can’t handle it anymore. I bump my cart against my car and mumble a begrudged thought about being thankful for the coffee. And for the way it makes my hand feel warm in the cold (which may have held a hint of sarcasm).

Ever been here? In the fire of a heated moment wondering why you’re as mad as you are?

For me, these moments are cracks in the steely veneer of my own disillusionment. Cracks that let me peek into the state of my heart. As much as it seems so in the burning heat of the moment, it’s not the matter at hand that causes the anger; it’s the state of the heart.

There’s a verse that has been reading me of late. It snuck into my quiet time with God. It snuck into Sunday’s sermon. And it snuck onto my phone, unexpectedly:

“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” Hebrews 4:12-13

There’s no safer, more honest place to be than before the One whose eyes see through to the core–the heart, the intentions, the mistakes, the failures. (The near meltdown over spilt coffee in a Kroger parking lot.) For His own, it’s safe there, before those eyes. Because God knows, and God still loves. He knows now, next week, next month, next decade…

If He didn’t know all, how could we be fully assured of His endless love?

When the [painful] scratch pulls past the veneer, there’s blessing in the open eyes, opportunity for the willing heart. Seeing sin is the blood-filled blessing that wrings our hearts clean of the wrong, if we come to God and seek it. It’s not easy, whatever the sin is. The flesh fights hard.

But the Spirit is stronger than we are.

This place, this hurt, is where the gold fills the cracks. Beauty indescribable comes shining from the Spirit life within. A soothing balm for the pain.

Show us what we need to see, Healing Father, and make us more like You.

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