Updated: Sep 12, 2020
One hears this word a lot these days. I hear it all the time. It is usually in response to the question: “What do people want most in a relationship?” But what does AUTHENTIC really mean?
And especially in the context of suffering.
Early on in my almost 7 years of suffering God asked me to answer truthfully when someone asked how I was doing. Not with the usual answer of, “I’m fine.” Or “Good.” He wanted me to be real. I guess the word for it is AUTHENTIC, but no one really used it back then. But, the real struggle is with how much information is ok, and how much borders on narcissistic? And I have found myself pondering this very subject more than once.
I want to be real in my suffering. If someone asks me how I am doing, then I want to share, not only the pain, but God’s goodness to me in the pain. This very thing happened to me yesterday.
I was at the dentist, and since COVID, the usual visit had to be pushed back 4 months, so there was a lot of catching up to do with the hygienist. We always laugh, tell all and completely catch up, even though her hands are in my mouth. We get it done. Well, anyway, she saw the tape on my feet. (Note: this was my true outing without boots, wheelchair, John, all of the above.) So, of course she wanted all the details and she even shared that on one of her trips to Disneyland she was left in pain from massive shin splints. She could relate to the pain, after a fun day the Happiest Place on Earth. But, it was in my retelling that I have to go back to my original affliction. Because of inactivity for 5+ years, I believe I was just a ripe candidate for having problems. Even though I had gone to Europe last October, done tons to prepare myself and was generally feeling pretty good.
The telling of my affliction will always lead to the healing story. Always. And, I just plunged in. I told all. How we prayed for years, how God spoke to me on July 20, 2018 that I was healed and how He then told me to begin praising Him from the church platform as well as the big lunch we had promised if He did heal me. Her eyes kept getting bigger and bigger. She was amazed at what God had done. I am pretty sure I had told her the story, but this time it was sinking in. Right there in the dentist chair, I was giving God glory in my affliction.
I think I just figured out what being AUTHENTIC is. Giving God glory, honor and praise in all circumstances. In all things. Life is messy and life is hard. But, to praise Him in it, THAT is real. Because in doing so, we point our eyes to Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, as well as pointing the eyes of the listener to this Good, Good Father.
Did you know that in my Bible (NIV), AUTHENTIC is not in there? I looked up REAL and it is, but I only see it in the Bible twice. But that does not mean that the concept is not there. It is all over the place. White washed tombs, anyone?
“For My flesh is real food and My blood is real drink. Whoever eats My flesh and
drinks My blood remains in Me, and I in Him.” John 6:55-56
Jesus is REAL. And when we eat and drink of Him, we remain in Him. And He in us. I think this means that we consume Him - His Presence, His Word, His Spirit. And He will be in us when we do. What an incredible promise for us. It did not occur to me until typing this out that by our being AUTHENTIC, we point others to Christ, who is the REAL food and water of the day. By sharing what is really going on in our lives, we point others to Christ, authentically. People really want to know how in the world you are living day to day in the suffering.
So I tell. And God gets the glory. And others see Jesus.
The pain is worth it.