Glorious Ruins

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The world has some pretty amazing landmarks.

France has the Eiffel Tower. England the Big Ben. USA the Statue of Liberty. Egypt the Pyramids. Australia the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

And these are (to some degree) the face of each respective country. They are all grand sculptures. Incredible works of architecture, structurally secure, flawless pieces of work. A brilliant showcase of what mankind is capable of.

That’s what makes my hometown pretty unique. There are two things iconic of Port Willunga. A broken down jetty and a shipwreck. Not exactly the height of human achievement.

Quite the opposite.

There is a strange beauty in wreckage that has stood the test of time

The shipwreck involved the deaths of many members aboard the ship. What was made structurally secure came to a horrific ending. Likewise the jetty, once very practical and useful to the area, stands as testament of lost relevance.

And yet, these things have become something of an attraction to our area.

Hundreds of people snorkel out to the shipwreck each summer. A cafe has been named after the ship. Heaps of people get married in front of the jetty remains. Tons of people take photos of the sunset through the jetty, which regularly appears on adverts showcasing the raw beauty South Australia has to offer.

Where am I going with this.

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Perhaps the landmarks reflect us as people.

We go about our lives trying to be this ideal work of art. Presenting ourselves and striving towards this image of greatness. Qualified. Confident. Secure. Flawless.

And there’s no wondering why we do this. Society depicts through magazines and advertisements architecturally flawless people. A people structurally secure in wealth and health. Confident in qualifications and relationships. The pinnacle of mankind.

And when we compare ourselves against perceived perfection, flaws surface.

Personal struggles hit peak activity. Social awkwardness steps up a gear. Feelings of inadequacy hit hard. We fail in subjects at school or university. We are made redundant from work. We lose relationships and friendships with people we care deeply about.

All of a sudden we are comparing The Statue of Liberty against a Shipwreck.

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My Uncle posted this as his profile picture.

At first it seemed a little funny, as this is just a photo of some random old dude. We needed answers. Had Tassie really aged him this much? 

He explained. ‘There is beauty in people and our society too often covers over the faults and lines and damage in order to fit in.’

I love this. It really gets to the heart of what it takes to be a human. As much as we try to put our best foot forward, life happens. Situations in life are often very far from perfect.

Perhaps trying to hide all of our scars isn’t the answer.

Our scars tell a story. 

There’s a strange beauty in the wrinkles and sun-torn skin of a weathered individual.

My Dad once ran our Sunday School lessons. I’m slightly biased, but they were literally the most fun ever. There were two activities we all loved.

The first was the Atomic Fireball challenge. Atomic Fireballs were these extremely hot lollies. Straight out of the middle of the earth those things. The challenge was to try and keep just one in your mouth. It was intense stuff. Especially for an 8-10 year old.

This one time a certain curly haired, boisterous kid by name of Joram put about 5 in his mouth at once. I’ve had a weird sense of respect for him since that day.

Our other favourite activity was sharing our scar stories. How it worked was pretty simple. We would sit in something resembling a circle, and show our scars to the group whilst recounting the accident that created them.

Some of the stories were absolute classics. It was always a funny time. Skateboard accidents. Bike crashes. Running into closed screen doors. What once brought us to tears, we could now laugh about in front of our friends.

You see, the scar stood as testament of the healing process.

‘He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. Beaten so we could be whole. Whipped so we could be healed.’ -Isaiah 53:5

Jesus. Not some photoshopped, money motivated, perverted picture of perfection.

Perfect in every way. 

And knowing our deepest flaws, Jesus was willingly put through a ridiculously excruciating death. Whipped relentlessly, skin ripped from his back, blood loss in extreme proportions. There were scar stories all over his body.

But not just scars that told a story. Scars that rewrite a story. 

Jesus. Who by profession created new things with nail and wood, willingly submitted himself to his own instruments to make us new (2 Corinthians 5:17). And by his resurrection, Jesus proved even the deepest scars of sin cannot overcome God’s kingdom.

Kingdom literally translated is King’s Dominion – just shortened. So because Jesus smashed sin and death to pieces, his dominion extends beyond death. Because Jesus lives, his kingdom endures.

And we are all given full access to His kingdom (Ephesians 2:18-19). Because in Jesus alone we find the way to truth and fullness of life (John 10:10; 14:6).

Now and beyond the grave.

Jesus rose from death with scarred hands and feet. The scars from the cross did not magically vanish, rather they served as witness to his power over death.

By his wounds we are healed.

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‘For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus…’ – Ephesians 2:10

To be a Christ follower is crazy unique.

We don’t claim to be a Statue of Liberty. We don’t claim to be flawless people. We don’t claim to be a showcase of what mankind is capable of. In fact, we boast in the exact opposite (2 Corinthians 12:9).

We don’t claim to be without fault because we simply aren’t.

In fact, maybe you feel like your life has been an absolute shipwreck. Everything is falling into ruins. Your life has become a story of lost relevance, everything now just a shadow of your past.

But in Jesus, we do claim something amazing has been made of our ruins.

We are made new (Ephesians 2:8-10). Not made new in the absence of our wreckage, as if God turns a blind eye to all our issues. Made new in the presence of our wreckage, that stands as testament of our healing. Wear those scars with dignity.

All will marvel at our wreckage that stands the test of time.

Glorious ruins.

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170 thoughts on “Glorious Ruins

  1. sja316 November 13, 2016 / 10:21 am

    Excellent Post. The UK’s memorable shipwreck is Henry VIII Mary Rose, an overladen battleship that sank on maiden launch. God almighty from my point of view always is the spearhead, unleashing canon fires wrath of God onto the enemy, to protect our loved ones! It’s always Jesus though that heals the scares. And bathing ourselves with the Holy Spirit makes those scares virtually unnoticeable. A very thought provoking post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jonathan Camac November 13, 2016 / 1:33 pm

      Stoked this post resonated with you in such an obvious way! Appreciate your ongoing readership here Stephen. Bless you mate 🙂

      Like

  2. tiffany parker November 14, 2016 / 3:00 am

    Very well written You are the first person I have seen passionately express their belief in Jesus. While I belong to no religion I am a very spiritual soul and I was moved by this post. Just beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jonathan Camac November 14, 2016 / 3:32 am

      appreciate your words Tiffany 🙂 would hope and pray this post directs you to a deeper understanding of Jesus. thanks again!

      Like

  3. Bob Crowder November 14, 2016 / 11:46 pm

    Great point of view and loved the graphic illustration. It was “worth a thousand words.” I will use your quote: “Jesus rose from death with scarred hands and feet. The scars from the cross did not magically vanish, rather they served as witness to his power over death. By his wounds we are healed.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jonathan Camac November 15, 2016 / 12:11 am

      Thanks for the feedback Bob 🙂 bless you in your work mate!

      Like

  4. timbushong November 17, 2016 / 1:18 pm

    Good stuff, brother.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Rheni J. November 17, 2016 / 10:01 pm

    Wow! This was just beautiful. I love the depth and openness of this article. I’m glad to be a glorious ruin. Again, just an amazing and inspiring word to show us the beauty in our scars.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Jonathan Camac November 17, 2016 / 10:29 pm

      glad to hear Rheni 🙂 appreciate your time here. All glory to our awesome God!

      Like

  6. Vickie Munton November 20, 2016 / 1:31 pm

    Love this! ❤ We all have scars that can either define us or define HIM–how He takes those scars and can make them a powerful testimony of His love and grace and mercy:

    "Perhaps trying to hide all of our scars isn’t the answer. Our scars tell a story. "

    And… "Jesus rose from death with scarred hands and feet. The scars from the cross did not magically vanish, rather they served as witness to his power over death."

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jonathan Camac November 20, 2016 / 6:23 pm

      well put Vickie! love how you’ve paired those two texts. appreciate your time and interaction with this post 🙂 God bless!

      Like

  7. Sonja Poitier November 21, 2016 / 5:34 am

    What an amazing illustration. Power brought forth in such an ugly in gruesome death. There is also power in our testimony to give hope to others who may have lost all hope.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jonathan Camac November 21, 2016 / 7:25 am

      Sure is! His strength where we are weak – that is something to boast about.

      Like

  8. sweettea184 November 21, 2016 / 10:18 am

    Thank you for sharing this. It was a wonderful read and exactly what I needed to hear

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Shaun Jex November 26, 2016 / 4:04 am

    I’m reminded of a Buddhist tradition that I’ve read about. When a teacup is broken, the shards are not thrown away. Instead, they are glued together and the cracks are painted with gold. Instead of hiding the perceived imperfections, they are highlighted. Or to quote Paul, ” But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me. That is why, for the sake of Christ, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.…”
    Thank you for these thoughts, for reminding us that in our weakness we are made whole through grace.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jonathan Camac November 26, 2016 / 10:39 am

      Wow, that sounds awesome! Love that quote from Paul. With God we don’t put up a facade of neatness, rather we boast in our weakness. What a crazy concept. I wrote on this in a blog post titled ‘Just the Rubber Band’ if you wanted to check it out 🙂 thanks for your time and interaction with this post Shaun!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Fiona Carney November 26, 2016 / 11:04 am

    Thanks for liking my blog posts, Jonathan, just sought you out and read this post. I LOVE IT!! You have a soulful voice when you write.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jonathan Camac November 26, 2016 / 12:18 pm

      No problems Fiona. Glad to hear you enjoyed this piece! Hope it stirred up your affection and directed you to our awesome God in some way 🙂

      Like

  11. missy512 December 4, 2016 / 11:50 am

    Beautiful piece. Beautiful perspective. Thank you for sharing your gift.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. flawapawa December 12, 2016 / 8:28 am

    Wow. Shipwrecks in themselves are a fascinating thing to me. And yeah, I’ve likened it to events in my life but I never thought it could be likened to Jesus… and in that way, too. AMAZING.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jonathan Camac December 12, 2016 / 9:19 am

      thanks for taking the time to read it flawapawa! Glad you got something out of reading it 🙂

      Like

  13. :) December 13, 2016 / 12:52 am

    Reblogged this on Bursting! and commented:
    Brilliant! Reblogged this on BURSTING!

    Liked by 1 person

      • :) December 13, 2016 / 1:36 am

        My heart is already bursting for Jesus… You are touching my heart re: “family”… I am loving God’s Fingerprints in family… 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  14. anchorrock4 December 14, 2016 / 12:40 am

    Thank you for this deeply reflective article. It is refreshing to remember that Jesus is rewriting my story and the story of all who believe in Him. You are a great author.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jonathan Camac December 14, 2016 / 12:52 am

      Very refreshing hey. Takes the weight off your shoulders to say the least. Appreciate your interaction with this post anchorrock4 🙂

      Like

  15. anchorrock4 December 14, 2016 / 1:23 am

    Because the One rewriting my story knows the ending from the beginning, He can reach back into my past and heal the wounds of my soul while continuing to walk with me into a future He has designed for victory. This is amazing grace.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jonathan Camac December 14, 2016 / 10:04 pm

      I haven’t seen that movie, so I’ll trust it is a good message they pass on 😉 thanks for your time Jane!

      Like

  16. thoughtseeds December 21, 2016 / 11:30 pm

    Thank you for this. I’m currently developing some new scars, so needed to read this. Such beautiful truth!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jonathan Camac December 22, 2016 / 12:21 am

      Pretty awesome stuff hey! God’s strength where we are weak – now that’s something to celebrate. Appreciate your time 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  17. salooper57 January 10, 2017 / 10:32 pm

    Jonathon, I appreciated your message and the style with which you tell it – a fun style but one that doesn’t get in the way of the big vision of what God is doing. (And thanks for reading “The Way Home” and taking the time to like it!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jonathan Camac January 10, 2017 / 11:01 pm

      Appreciate your kind words and feedback salooper57 🙂 No problems dude. Just read your ‘about’ page and love the way you’ve summarised your blog in the last paragraph. “but it will not roam too far from the way home – the way that is, paradoxically, a person.” Love it!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. GrampaDennis January 16, 2017 / 12:49 pm

    In my pre-teen and early teen years my family ran a small dairy farm in central Maine, USA. We couldn’t afford quality help, so Dad hired local alcoholics and others that were definitely on the low end of society. As I worked with these guys, I learned something from each of them. I developed a type of love and respect for them. I remember them fondly. I have some funny stories about those times. I feel another blog article coming on….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jonathan Camac January 16, 2017 / 7:59 pm

      There is so much we can learn from those rough, weathered individuals. Not least because often their heart seems to be the opposite. Thanks for taking the time to read this one GrampaDennis 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Jonathan Camac January 25, 2017 / 12:37 am

      Sounds like it resonated with you in some way 🙂 Thanks for your time!

      Like

  19. jesusjavajack February 5, 2017 / 9:05 pm

    Two things:

    First, imagine in Heaven you are speaking with any of the martyrs, and you have no scars.

    Second, as I was reading this, I thought of Paul when he said For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

    Thank you for writing and I pray you will continue.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jonathan Camac February 6, 2017 / 12:02 am

      Paul was definitely an amazing example to the early church (and us today) in his discipline, his all-out pursuit of joy in Jesus. Something he was willing to follow at all costs. The question is – are we willing? Appreciate your time 🙂

      Like

    • Jonathan Camac February 7, 2017 / 11:05 am

      Thanks for taking the time to read it Thobeku 🙂 Bless you mate!

      Like

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