“Leave the broken, irreversible past in His hands, and step out into the invincible future with Him.” Oswald Chambers.
The thought of leaving that broken, irreversible past is one of the most challenging things to do. For those of us who have been broken, worn, hurt, damaged…scarred, leaving any of it behind is nearly impossible. We carry those hurts around with us on a daily basis. They have etched our souls. We have the brokenness and the scars to remind us of the journeys. Some of those journeys we would rather forget.
Scars are interesting. Have you ever studied one? There is a mark left behind representing a hurt. Some marks are dotted by signs of staples or stitches. Signs of a body that once was so broken it had to be stitched back together…mended. Other scars have become lines. Some indented in our flesh, deeper than the rest of our person. Others are raised, composed of layers. Layers that sometimes represent being repeatedly mended, torn, and again mended. Yet another type of scar is scar tissue. This scar appears like a typical wound on the outside, easily healed, and forgotten. This old wound however, has taken quite another turn. It has grown inward, and attached itself in places it shouldn’t have. It grows, and pulls on the inside overtime. Eventually…if it grows for too long, it can cause pain once again. It causes an ache whose source cannot be identified. Often times, once finally realized, that scar tissue has to be removed…causing a new wound, new pain, and a new way of healing.
I just had a run in with scar tissue during my recent hysterectomy. Scar tissue had developed from my nearly two decades old appendectomy. That appendectomy was something I had tried to forget. The pain was overwhelming, the near death experience was a fleeting thought here or there, but certainly nothing I expected to ever be a problem again. My scar, while obviously deep from the outside, appeared to have healed well. Then, the doctor got inside. He found that scar tissue had nearly consumed the inner cavity of my abdomen. It had reached out and attached itself to my organs, and then continued to grow. It hid the disease that needed to be removed, and created a two part surgery. Something that looked so normal in the dark, once viewed in the light, was everything but normal.
The doctor had to spend an hour clearing out the scar tissue before he could reach the organs that needed to be removed. He tells me that my wound told a story. A story of how traumatic the appendectomy was. A story of how damaged my body once was, and how desperately those wounds had tried to control my body. Days later, as I lay in my bed recovering…listening to the quite around me, I realized that scars require attention. My doctor understood the story my scar told because he investigated it, observed it, and then worked to free it.
What an interesting thought isn’t it. A scar that represents so much damage that it needs work to be freed. Isn’t that how our emotional scars work as well? We’ve been damaged and broken, and have tried to hide it away. The outside appears normal, but deep inside is where all of the damage has occurred. It’s the damage deep within our souls. The damage that goes unnoticed unless someone takes time to pay it attention….to observe it, and to investigate it.
Did you know that when we give the Lord permission to be our Jehovah-Rapha [Healer], He pays attention to those scars? Why would the All Mighty King of Kings be interested in scars? Because Jesus too, while perfect in every way, wears scars as evidence of the time when He endured terrible damage for us. He accepted being beaten, broken, cut, and dying for us. Jesus’s scars provide identification. They are a reminder to those who may doubt Him that His experiences were in fact very real. Because you see, Jesus is alive! His injuries were not the end for Him, just as if we are in Christ, ours are not. Those scars prove that Jesus is who He says He is. Our scars identify us as well. For in Christ, when our wounds are healed and only scars remain, they allow us to tell the story and share the proof of God’s grace and mercy. As there is only one Jesus, there is also only one you. God designed us that way. He designed us to be a beautiful individual, “…fearfully and wonderfully made…” Psalm 139:14 You Made by God, for God. He loves you scars and all!
So what about the scars? God allowed us to get those scars to add to our beauty. He stood beside you in the journey to that scar, and He never took His hand off of you. Take a moment, think about one of those scars, then think about something beautiful that came from the scar. That appendix of mine, well God provided me continued life with my family through that scar. Decades later, He allows me to use that scar as an example of His provision, His healing…His love for me. He allows me to embrace that scar and to tell a story for others to learn from. He allows me to use my experiences of pain, recovery, and life after the pain to help you dear Sister. You know what else that scar does? It reminds me that God never left my side…He won’t leave you either.
These new scars from my most recent surgery are scabbed over. They are still painful, but they are healing. They are a reminder of God’s promise to me. You know, He stood beside me through it all. I know He did, because He made me a promise in His word. He made you the same promise. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaish 41:10 See, He promises to be with us always. He even promises to give us the strength we require.
Healing is exhausting. It requires tons of rest. I’ve found myself antsy this last week, getting tired of laying around and doing nothing. Then the Lord reminded me that even He wants us to rest in order to heal. “Matthew 11:28-29 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” For some of us, the rest is necessary to heal the visible wounds. Those deep wounds, the ones that have been opened, and healed, and opened again…those deep thick scars, well they require healing too. Carrying them around is exhausting because we try to hide them while they heal. Those are the scars that drag us down, and make us feel like we are less that God intended us to be. It’s those scars with which God is especially gentle. It is those that He wants us to hand over to Him, and in turn wear His yoke, seek Him, let Him provide us learning experiences, and in turn He will provide rest for that weary soul.
It’s not easy to heal, but oh dear Sister, the lessons along the way and the healing God provides are the most satisfying in life. God takes that pain, and He makes it beautiful…then, He wants you to use that scar to share the truth of His goodness with others. In Christ we find hope, and most beautifully we find healing.