3 All praises belong to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he is the Father of tender mercy and the God of endless comfort. 4 He always comes alongside us to comfort us in every suffering so that we can come alongside those who are in any painful trial. We can bring them this same comfort that God has poured out upon us. 5 And just as we experience the abundance of Christ’s own sufferings, even more of God’s comfort will cascade upon us through our union with Christ. 2 Corinthians 1:5 As a young boy, I loved putting a thin mattress over the rail of the front verandah of our home in Bowraville, jumping on top and pretending it was a horse. Not only was it a wild ride, but the horse also bucked me off and my right ankle hit the tap on the way down and caused a huge gash on my leg. The pain was excruciating! After crawling on the ground in shock, I was taken to the doctor to get stitches and over time it healed. Today the scar is a reminder to me of what happened, and how I was looked after by my parents to get medical help. It also reminds me to be extremely careful riding any horse, no matter what type of horse it is! The pain has gone and the wound has healed but the scar reminds me of what has happened. When we get to know different people, often they start sharing their stories. There are many people who have either been wounded or still are, and there are some that are healed but still bear the scars of things that have happened to them in their lives. These wounds can be emotional, spiritual and physical. Some of the wounds came from what others have inflicted on them and some come from bad choices they have made in our lives. Most of us have wounds that have not been healed, and many have scars that are hidden due to shame, fear and a feeling that these wounds and scars cause us to be unlovable. What is the difference between having wounds and bearing scars?
In Sheila Walsh's book "It's OK Not To Be OK" in Chapter 7 she writes about scars we acquire in life being something to celebrate. For most of us, we have had incredibly tough times in our lives in areas including faith, relationships, work, finances, health etc. Even when the pain has gone or we are through the drama, scars remain. Sheila, through her life experiences, testifies the power of scars both on the body of Jesus and in her life. The scars are a testimony to the many times she has fallen and how God has brought her through tragedy and restored her. Scars are a reminder of God's grace and how He has worked through the wounds to grow and mature us and bring us closer in relationship to Him. On the day Jesus rose from the dead, His body was transformed. It was glorified and resurrected. What was interesting was that the scars from the nails and the piercing of his side remained. Why was this? Could it be that the wounds of Jesus cause us to be disarmed and in our woundedness, we know He is able to meet us and not only bring healing, but He can also grow us and shape us through our pain and trials? Even though the pain of our wounds is often extreme, when we open our lives to God He does two key things. He not only heals us through what the scars of Jesus remind us of what He went through to pay for our sins on the cross but in the end we bear a scar that is a testimony to what He has done in our lives to bring wholeness and healing. The scars of Jesus tell us of three key things that should encourage us as we take our wounded lives to Him for healing:-
1. The scars tell us that Jesus knows our pain - Not only did Jesus become fully human and become one of us, but He also carried all our human sins on the cross. Only Jesus can fully identify with us when we are suffering intense pain.
You made him lower than the angels for a little while. You placed your glory and honor upon his head as a crown. And you have given him dominion over the works of your hands, Hebrews 2:7
2. The scars tell us that Jesus and our Heavenly Father love us with a love beyond our comprehension. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus chose to follow the will of His Father, even when it meant incredible suffering, betrayal and death on the cruel cross for our sins. Jesus loved us so much He gave His life so we could live!
8 But Christ proved God’s passionate love for us by dying in our place while we were still lost and ungodly! Romans 5:8. 3. The scars tell us of the victory we have through Jesus. Jesus bears the scars of an incredible victory. As He works in our lives our scars are no longer wounds with any power. They are a sign of who Jesus is and what He has done on the cross for us. We are able to defeat the accuser of our brothers and sisters through the blood of Jesus and the example He gave us on how to live our lives on earth.
They conquered him completely through the blood of the Lamb and the powerful word of his testimony. They triumphed because they did not love and cling to their own lives, even when faced with death. Revelation 12:11
Satan wants to trip us up and cause us to fall. We think that our wounds will destroy us and make us unfit for a relationship with Him and others. Many times we feel our lives have been destroyed and are over. God is infinitely much more clever than Satan. Often, the things that we feel are the most painful, are the ones that both cause us to grow in our faith the most and then through the experiences we are able to love, walk alongside others and bring healing to them as we testify about our scars and what God has done in our life. Our scars, instead of being shameful, are an incredible reminder and testimony to the incredible love God has for us and His people, especially in our brokenness.
My experience is that as my scars are exposed and shared something powerful happens. I share not to tell how good I am, but to show that in my weakness God has come, and through the work of Jesus in my life, I have been loved, forgiven and healed. Instead of causing people to run away when they know of my scars, in a strange way I see others remove their defences and share their wounds, scars and pain. They see that not only I am OK in my brokenness, but how God has worked to bring healing, wholeness and growth in my relationship with God. My boasting is not in how good I am, but in how amazing God has been in meeting me in my brokenness. This then opens the door to seek what God has done in my life and helps them trust God to take their wounds and turn them also into scars that testify of His power, love and goodness. So what is the difference between being wounded and bearing scars? In the midst of my pain, I had to ask Jesus to reveal my sin, to accept the love of my Heavenly Father and allow Him to bring healing, wholeness and forgiveness into the situation. Learning that being broken is OK and that in my brokenness Jesus met me and was able to restore me back to wholeness. Bring your wounds to Jesus and allow Him to fully heal so you are not only set free, you can share your scars as a testimony to others that His love is greater than any wound and that anything Satan has tried to do, God has brought blessing, grace and weaved it into the story He has given me.
Yes, wounds are painful! Allow Jesus to come and bring healing and wholeness and turn the wound into something you celebrate. Healing takes time but it is worth it!!
Scars are incredible! 10 A thief has only one thing in mind—he wants to steal, slaughter, and destroy. But I have come to give you everything in abundance, more than you expect—life in its fullness until you overflow! John 10:10 References:
1. His Scars Will Never Fade -The Wounds Christ Took to Heaven.
3. Walsh Sheila, It's Okay Not To Be Okay - Moving Forward One Day At A Time.