A friend and I were talking last night about happiness and Jesus. My friend had just watched a televised worship service in which a young lady was giving her testimony. As a result of all that had gone in her life, the way that she had found to ease her pain was to self-inflict pain by cutting. Her testimony was that God had found her and she had found God and freedom from cutting. My friend said that the Pastor asked this young girl "What have you gotten from out of all this?" and the young lady's reply was "Scars." My friend said it was clear that was not the answer the Pastor wanted...he was looking for something a little more happy.
I thought about that story a lot last night when I was supposed to be sleeping. Scars tell a story. I've got a scar on my right shin, right arm and thighs from chicken pox. There is a scar on my finger from slicing it on the trunk of my newly purchased car. I have a scar on another finger from a bad encounter with a rock and a pole. Then there's the random scar on my thumb that I can't remember how it got there.
But those are just the visible scars. You can't see the ones on the inside. The one that came about because of things I heard as a child from other children. The scar that is there from the death of two grandparents within two months. The scar from a friendship torn apart. The scar that is still tender from the loss of my foster brother.
Scars tell a story. They tell us that we have lived life. They are part of what shapes us and makes us who we are. Sometimes the scars seem shameful but other times they are a badge that says "I have survived." The implication of the Pastor's reaction to the young lady's story is that scars aren't something to be proud of or something that we should show. We should hide them.
I wonder if God uses our scars as reminders of where we have been and what we have been through. It seems to me that God used the scars on Jesus' body to tell a story to the men on the road to Emmaus and as a tool for Thomas to really believe. Even today we sing about those scars,"The nails in your hands, the nail in your feet, they tell me how much you love me." God clearly could have healed the wounds on Jesus' body...but God didn't. Today those scars are still a reminder of how powerful God's love is as well as a testament to the amazing gift Jesus gave us all.
My scars remind me of where I've been and the things that have happened along the way. Some of those things happened before I really knew God but many have happened as I've journeyed through life with God. Every time I look at them I remember life isn't easy but God loves me and we are on this journey together.