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Walking With Scars: Redeeming the Reminders of Brokenness

Modified and adapted from Where Joy is: Finding Joy in the Midst of Suffering (2023)

My day started out just fine. I had enjoyed coffee in the living room recliner with my Bible just as the sun began to dawn. Soft, worship music was playing through the house as my kids and I got ready for the day, and we even had a short, theological discussion in the car on the way to school. I had walked into work with a contented heart and had whispered prayers all throughout the morning, thankful for a job to go to and relieved that I hadn’t been in the fender bender on I-430.

I don’t know what happened or how it started, but suddenly everything started going dark. My hands began to tremble, my attention span shrunk, my heart rate quickened, and mind began to panic over... something... everything. What began as a wonderful, peaceful day, had suddenly began to spiral into a horrible afternoon of emotional turmoil.

There are days when it is easy to get out of bed, when we remember to eat and take out the garbage. There is a song in our heart and the Lord feels near and extra dear to us. These days are gracious gifts. But there are also days when old memories resurface, when our flesh weakens, and when our hearts break all over again. On those days, it is important to remember that the past does not have to keep us in its clutches. Because of the hope we have in Jesus, we are not in bondage anymore, we are released from its control.

Notice I did not say we are released from sin’s effect on us, but on its hold on us. As long as we are alive on earth, we are going to feel the effects of sin. We will remember, and ache, and even weep. We will carry scars as souvenirs of yesteryear. The past and all its pain may trigger us, hurt us, or even tempt us, but because of Jesus, nothing from our yesterdays have the power to prevail. That is the power of the gospel.

Amy Carmichael, a missionary to India in the early 1900's wrote this stirring and thought-provoking poem:

Hast thou no scar?

No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand?

I hear thee sung as mighty in the land;

I hear them hail thy bright, ascendant star.

Hast thou no scar?

Hast thou no wound?

Yet I was wounded by the archers; spent,

Leaned Me against a tree to die; and rent

By ravening beasts that compassed Me, I swooned.

Hast thou no wound?

No wound? No scar?

Yet, as the Master shall the servant be,

And piercèd are the feet that follow Me.

But thine are whole; can he have followed far

Who hast no wound or scar?

There is no question that suffering hurts us. That is why it bears the name suffering. It cuts through our flesh and into our heart. It makes us cry. It makes us jerk back, and in the really hard times, it tempts us to question if God is still holding on to us. But Amy's question of "Hast thou no scar?" is one worth pondering. I, for one, do not understand cancer, divorce, infertility, devastating loss, disabilities, abuse, or neglect. I do not know the purposes or the redemptive plans behind the sufferings that we face in this life. However, I do know that we are safe in the hands of God; and the hands that hold us are gentle, compassionate, and life-giving. His hands bear scars that bring healing to broken people. As His workmanship, it is only right that we be like our Master and bear scars too.

Sin will not win, friend. It may look like the darkness has had the final say, but it does not. We may go through life bearing scars, but all is counted as loss in light of Christ and what He has done for us. Because of Jesus, we have the ultimate and final victory. We have Heaven to look forward to where Christ is seated on the throne and every tear, every memory of every tragedy, every regret, and every aching pain of suffering will be no more.

If you are walking with scars, rejoice and keep following the Master who bears scars too.


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