Scars! Often they have a negative connotation in our minds. Frequently they are associated with the marring of a person’s looks that happens in an accident or after surgery that must be extreme to save a person’s life. But in reality, scarring is associated with healing. It is part of the healing process. Infections may cause a more jagged and complex scar. A person who heals easily usually has a very fine scar…but just the same, the scarring is part of the healing process.
As I have thought about being scared, overwhelmed or brokenhearted, I realize that these can be part of the healing process, but they also need healing, particularly the brokenheart. It needs to be healed. Something has caused an extreme a wound. Often pain has resulted…it may have been betrayal, purposeful or accidental hurt, or a host of other issues, but the end result is the same! Your heart is broken. You are in pain. Your grief is overwhelming. This will not be over in a day.The process of healing must start.
It will take time to heal this wound, as well as the healing hand of GOD to help you move on from this point. But even then, there is a wound. It will not disappear magically.
As I discussed this with friends this week, we realized that there will never be a perfect healing of this wound here on earth. That place will never be the same. If that is the case, what is the advantage for the Christian? How are we any better off than the person who doesn’t know GOD?
- We know this life is not all there is. We know that there is coming a day when all will be made right…whether it is injustice, broken hearts or other forms of grief. We know that GOD is going to heal that wound one day. That is no empty hope! Ephesians 1:15-23, Hebrews 11:13-16.
- We know that GOD is with us now in our pain. He is omnipresent. He is never too busy to also be with with us in our hard times to comfort us. The idea that the GOD of the universe would comfort us in our weakness and times of grief is very encouraging. In fact, He talks in Scripture about treasure in darkness! Is that possible? Can it be that times of darkness can also have treasures hidden within them? Isaiah 45:3, Psalm 46:4-7, Matthew 1:23.
- We know that we have a community of believers who will be with us in our local church. They are there to support us during hard times. It is a place to worship together and also find a place of mutual comfort and encouragement. Romans 12:14-19, Hebrews 10:19-25.
- We know that GOD will make sense of whatever is happening in His good time and will use us in the process…even if we don’t always feel usable. It is amazing how He does that! On this side of heaven, we won’t understand all the whys of course, but we may end up getting a glimmer of some of the reasons. Romans 8:28, II Corinthians 12:7-10.
As we talked this past week, we realized how gracious GOD has been over the years. As we look back on our scars, they are like those altars that GOD’s people often built to remember battles won or lost, or special times in their lives with GOD. When they passed that way again, they saw that pile of stones, and remembered what GOD had done, usually in spite of their weakness and failure.
That is the encouragement we can take from our scars. Look back on those scars and see GOD’s faithfulness! Remember the loss of that child and how you had to deal with GOD in new ways? Remember how you realized He was different than you had thought before?
Remember those years of unemployment and how hard and painful they were? Remember how painful certain aspects of it was. The scar is still lumpy in spots from that wound. But you had to trust GOD in new ways to provide for you. Your arrogance in certain areas was knocked down. You realized that jobs, even in ministry, have more to do with GOD’s provision and less to do with how important you are. You learned that the important thing is the need to minister to GOD’s people no matter where they are. You remember learning how important it is to forgive in tangible ways even at times when GOD’s people don’t treat you fairly.
As I thought of the many scars, I realized how many things GOD has used in my life over the years to show me how much I need Him. I am spiritually poor and needy. there is no getting around it. The more truly I know this in my gut, the better off I am!
The other encouraging word? As I look back over the scars, I see that GOD has used me during those times of pain, broken heartedness, overwhelmed and scared. In the middle of all that, He has used me in the lives of other people! That is truly amazing!
How could it be? I have no idea. But when Paul talks about being strong when he is weak? I think I get it! There is nothing to brag about. We know it had nothing to do with us. Whatever happened for GOD’s glory came from Him, not us. It’ s an amazing miracle the way He works it out. II Corinthians 12:7-10
That’s one thing about heaven that will be refreshing. It won’t be an eternal brag fest. The people who plan to brag will find out the things they were bragging about weren’t worth anything. The ones who didn’t think they were getting much done for Jesus will probably find out differently. Either way, We’re all going to be bragging about Jesus and what He did, not ourselves or anything we accomplished. How delightful!
Even better? The healing of all our grief, pain, and all those scars? It will be complete! We will be whole in ways we never were here on earth. How awesome! And Jesus will be right there! In person! Can you even imagine what that will be like?
**Some of the ideas in this post are from a conversation with one of my pastors this past week. I’m grateful for his help as I learn to make the gospel more concrete in my mind so I can pass it on. Thanks Ron Clegg.