The Hope in Our Scars: Finding the Bride of Christ in the Underground of Disillusionment
By Aimee Byrd
(Zondervan 2024)

“We deceive ourselves into thinking we don’t need much. We cover it up with a veil. The ugliness of it all! We direct our eyes to other things like the virtues of which we speak. But look at the freedom love offers.”

Many of us grow up in the church and still don’t know what healthy discipleship is supposed to look like. Does discipleship mean serving in the important church programs? Knowing the right theology? Having the perfect family and the right friends? Living a moral life? Having it all together? Defeating our besetting sins? Becoming a leader? These are all tempting ways to try to succeed in the Christian life because we can deceive ourselves into thinking they are measurable. But discipleship is more vulnerable than this. We can spend so long in the church tending to our church face — you know the one — that we lose our actual face. We forget what we look like. We come face to face with our own fears. We take a long look at our own status as disciples. What kind of Christian am I? Do I have what it takes? How is Christ shown in my life? What do I know about love? 

That last question is developed well in C.S. Lewis’ Till We Have Faces, a novel that retells and reshapes the myth of Cupid and Psyche. The story is told from the perspective of Orual, Psyche’s sister, who is writing a book of complaints against the gods. She builds her case, beginning with the death of her mother when she was a small child; moving on to her cruel father, the King of Glome; considering her physical ugliness, which she later masked with a veil; and reporting her undying love for her sister. She tells a story of how she sacrifices herself for justice and for love. It’s a tale of loss. Orual would never forgive the gods for taking Psyche from her. Orual gave and gave, picturing herself more righteous than the gods. She knew love. She knew sacrifice. She knew beauty. She knew justice. Yet she was all alone. At the end of her life, Orual has a vision. She is able to go before the gods with her case against them, with all that she had been documenting in her book. Finally.

Before the gods, her veil removed, she was completely naked. Suddenly, as she is told to read her complaint before the court, the book she holds seems smaller. The pages appear as angry scribble. But she begins to read. She reads of her hatred. She reveals that she would have rather her sister been devoured by the brute gods of Glome than what really happened — their beckoning her sister’s love with a god that is beautiful. “We’d rather you drank their blood than stole their hearts. We’d rather they were ours and dead than yours and made immortal.” They dared to give her sister eyes to see their glory. Well, she refused to look. This was theft. Psyche belonged to her! What’s worse is Psyche was happy there! Not Orual, she would have been happier to see her sister devoured by the beast than in this bliss, married to a god. On and on, she complains. 

Until the judge cuts her off, saying “Enough.” That’s when she realized she was reading the same thing over and over, from beginning to end and back to the beginning. There she stood in the silence. The judge asked her if she was answered, and she said yes. She explains to the reader: 

The complaint was the answer. To have heard myself making it was to be answered. Lightly men talk of saying what they mean. Often when he was teaching me to write in Greek the Fox would say, “Child, to say the very thing you really mean, the whole of it, nothing more or nothing less or other than what you really mean; that’s the whole art and joy of words.” A glib saying. When the time comes to you at which you will be forced at last to utter the speech which has lain at the center of your soul for years, which you have, all that time, idiot-like, been saying over and over, you’ll not talk about the joy of words. I saw well why the gods do not speak to us openly, nor let us answer. Till that word can be dug out of us, why should they hear the babble that we think we mean? How can they meet us face to face till we have faces? 


Now she sees too. She was all wrong about love. It wasn’t something to consume or to manage. It wasn’t measured out in fractions. It wasn’t manipulated by sacrifice or emotion. It doesn’t cage or control. She had her answer. “I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away.” 

Don’t we all struggle with our view of how God loves us and how we are to love others? Lewis’ novel almost seems to be a commentary on 2 Corinthians 3:7–18. Paul is contrasting the ministry of the law of Moses to the ministry of the Spirit. The ministry of the law brought death in condemnation. But it was still glorious. So much so that Moses had to veil his face after he received it from God, as God’s glory radiated from the law more than the Israelites could bear. It showed righteousness. With how much more glory, then, does the enduring ministry of the Spirit who brings righteousness overflow? Paul explains that a veil remains over the hardened hearts in the reading of the old covenant. The covering can only be removed by Christ: 

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is Spirit. 


The ugliness of Orual’s face symbolizes her trying to obtain her own righteousness. That’s what happens when our hearts are hardened, when we think the law of Moses, our own revised edition, is attainable. We deceive ourselves into thinking we don’t need much. We cover it up with a veil. The ugliness of it all! We direct our eyes to other things like the virtues of which we speak. 

But look at the freedom love offers: “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” Many pastors are too afraid to preach this message. Its grace is too extravagant. What will people do if we let them know? 

We are free from condemnation. We are given holiness. We are given the eyes to see its glory. We are given beauty, as we reflect Christ. What happens when we see each other unveiled? It’s like looking in a mirror at the glory of the Lord as we are being transformed into the same image. This is just too much, isn’t it? This is what we want deep down. Christ in me; Christ in you. We want faces. We want to delight in one another’s faces as we delight in the Lord together.

Adapted from The Hope in Our Scars: Finding the Bride of Christ in the Underground of Disillusionment by Aimee Byrd. Available now from Zondervan.