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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Keeping Faith In The Face of Evil - Living With Scars


            If you look closely at my right hand on the knuckles you will notice a significant L-shaped scar.  The story I love to tell about how I got this scar is it came about when I got into a fight in a bar one night.  This was before I was a follower of Jesus and my usual ending to the story is “And you should have seen the other guy!”  Of course, when I tell this story it gets all kinds of wide-eyed looks.  Until I confess it is a total fabrication.  The real story is much less…sensational.
            When I was young I had 26 warts and a bunch of them were on the back of my right hand.  This was before doctors understood that this indeed was one of those times where the best advice was to “rub some dirt on it.”  Or, at the least put some duct tape on it and they would go away.  Instead, one day I had the warts on my hand cut off and then burnt to cauterize them.  (I can still smell that smell!)  My Dad said I was very brave – didn’t cry at all.  The rest of the warts just disappeared after that.
            The result of the treatment was a scar that still helps me remember which hand is my right one and gives me opportunity to tell a pretty good sensational lie about how it got there.  That is the real story.

            Scars make for good stories.  Everyone has a scar story they love to tell.  The scar is a reminder you were injured and proof you survived.  They don’t go away – just a constant reminder that something went sideways.
            There are many scars we have that people can’t see.  They are the scars on our heart and soul, wounds as real and deep as the tearing of our flesh that left the external scar.  They don’t go away either – a constant reminder you were injured and you are still alive.
            In John 20:24-29 there is a curious story about Jesus proving who he is to Thomas by showing him the scars in his hands, feet and side.  Thomas was convinced when he saw the scars of Jesus.  The thing I find curious is the resurrected body of Jesus that had been healed of death and the brutality of his suffering still had these scars.  The scars defined Jesus and identified Jesus.  It seems like they are with him for eternity yet they don’t make him imperfect – they seem to add to his perfection.

            I recently reflected on some of my soul scars as I walked with people I love and care for.  They all had something to do with death – death of a dream or the physical death of a person.  Often, the two deaths were connected.  What had been hoped for down here was taken when they passed from this life to the next.
            The stories that go with these scars are rarely shared and usually only with those we are most intimate with.  They are too deep, too painful these stories.  They are sacred and precious, not to be wasted.  Like the scars of Jesus, we are shaped and identified by these scars.  But Jesus wants us to be defined by his scars not ours.  The scars of Jesus are the promise of ultimate healing, ultimate restoration.  The scars of Jesus tell us death does not win.  Jesus wins.  Let Jesus redeem your scars.  It is the greatest story that can be told.

Peace and grace,
David

Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.” (1 Corinthians 15:54–58, NLT)


2 comments:

Keli Gwyn said...

Wow! This is the first time I've ever heard anyone talk about the scars of Jesus still being a part of His resurrected body. God could so easily have healed them, but He chose not to. Instead those marks serve as a reminder of what our Lord Jesus went through on our behalf. I like to think He bears the scars as a testimony to His love for us.

Taking such a view of scars makes those I have seem more meaningful. They--and the stories behind them--are a part of who I am. Without them I wouldn't be the person I am today.

And on a lighter note, feel free to ask me about the scar on my upper lip the next time you see me, and I'll tell you the story of how it came to be. :-)

Dwight Fuller said...

Nicely said, David. Thanks for that cool perspective. I hadn't really thought about Jesus' scars being present on his resurrected body, either.

Isaiah 53 tells us that by his wounds we are healed, which in my mind begs the question, who will be healed by mine?

Perhaps no one, if I keep my scar stories to myself. But if I share my stories, maybe a modern-day Thomas will see the proof of God's grace in them and believe?