By Molly Huggins
I heard tell of King David’s first wife once: Michal, a woman both unloved and, in the end, unloving. It’s not a pretty story, and the ending leaves something to be desired.
We know she loved David; he may have loved her in the beginning. Somewhere in David’s power struggle with Saul, she- the king’s daughter- became an ugly pawn. Michal stayed when David fled and lied to protect him. David, instead of returning for her, took two other wives and Michal was given by Saul to a man who, by all accounts, truly loved her.
But politics prevailed, and as a condition of further peace with the house of Saul, David demanded his bride back from a man who wept at her departure. Michal had no love left for David and is depicted as scornful of his behavior and subsequently barren for the rest of her days.
And yet--her story is still included in the books of I and II Samuel. In THE Story. That’s the point, isn’t it? Of this season of Lent, of sacrifice, of a good, ugly, dark Friday.
Sometimes redemption tells ugly stories. We have to weep at the foot of a splintered cross to rejoice in a barren tomb.
And we all have them, these ugly stories, whether we are the wounded or the wound-makers.
And redeemed though we are, like Peter we take our eyes off Christ. And oh, the wind and the waves they are boisterous, and we don’t feel redeemed.
But the gospel, it is built on rock, The Rock. And our ugly stories become an exclamation point to The Story, finished in an echoing, empty grave.
We may not know the particulars of Michal’s story. We certainly don’t know the ending of ours. But we know when our sin swirls around us, eddying in the dark places; when the ugly seems the most real, and our wounds are aching- we are the redeemed. The named and chosen ones, tattooed on His palms. We who were once dead are now alive through the alchemy of Christ’s death and resurrection.
We are new creations, washed clean.
It’s spring here now. A perfect complement to this season of Death, slowly turning to Life. A Good, ugly, dark Friday and a Resurrection.
What stories are you telling?
How is God using the hard ugly things in your life to show the story of the Gospel?
Father, thank You for making all things new. You are always redeeming us, reclaiming us, forgiving us. Help me to see Your light shining in the dark places. Remind me of Your promises and who you are, that I might trust You more deeply. Amen.
Molly Huggins (All The Grace Between) is an Army bride, one-time helicopter pilot, compulsive writer, friend seeker, and lover of color and all things textile. Her current occupation is ringmaster of the Huggins family circus (party of five). She has a B.A. in English from Covenant College and a passion for meeting other women right in the middle of their own messy stories. Pull up a chair at her virtual beat-up kitchen table, listen to her stories, and maybe even tell her yours.