My final entry for Radio 2's Pause for Thought competition:
Triumph Through Adversity
Three Australians in a pub compare their scar stories. One points to purple flesh on his calf: “Box jellyfish” he complains. The second says “You big girl’s blouse” – shows his left hand missing: “Shark Attack!” he says. The third simply takes off his shirt revealing a massive scar from his throat straight down to his belly button. The other two say “Jeepers, what happened?” He replies “Post-mortem.”
We love a scar story. Do you have one? It’s a tale of triumph through adversity.
Think of the Paralympian on the podium winning gold. And you know that this gold has come through a furnace: a life-time of struggle, a car accident, a war wound, but through the furnace: Gold. We love triumph through adversity.
Recently Derren Brown was asked why his magic shows are so different. He said “Magic tends to be about people clicking their fingers... and it happens. Which is a God-like whim... What’s more interesting dramatically – he says – is a Hero-story... somebody who’s struggling with something and then goes through a journey but at some cost to himself.”
Derren Brown’s absolutely right. We’re just not interested in the God-like figure – all triumph and no adversity. We all respond to the Hero’s journey – struggle through adversity.
But what if the God story IS the Hero story?
At the end of John’s Gospel, Doubting Thomas is confronted by the Hero of the Bible. The Risen Jesus shows him His scars – proof of a love that took Him to hell and back. And Thomas blurts out “My Lord and My God!” Thomas has seen God, because He has seen His scars.
We’ve all got scar stories. The Bible says even God’s got a scar story. If that’s true then, in all our struggles, there really IS Triumph through adversity.