I have lots of them. I’ve had many surgeries over my lifetime. Fortunately, most of the scars have been in areas that aren’t visible. But recently I had to have open chest surgery to remove my large and cancerous thyroid gland. Those scars are easily visible across my neck and down the center of my chest. They are red, angry looking scars, even though my surgery was almost a year ago.
Initially, I was self-conscious about the scars. I often had complete strangers asking me about my health issues, which I felt were none of their business. I would become indignant if someone asked me about them. One of my doctors has also been quite focused on the appearance of the scars, even though I had not been complaining about them. He’s even suggested that I consider having them surgically (are you kidding me?!) removed, and having the subsequent scar irradiated to prevent the red angriness from returning. Hmm…sounds a bit extreme to me!
Lately though, God has been changing the way I think about my scars. After all, they are a reminder of the grace and mercy that He has shown me through a difficult time in my life. He carried me through cancer and surgeries and treatments, caring for me in ways He would not have needed to had I not been ill. My family, my church family, my neighbors and co-workers all ministered to me by providing meals, help and emotional support - they were Jesus “with skin on” to me and my family during those long months.
I’ve also realized that Jesus Himself bears scars - the scars from the nails that were brutally pounded into His hands and feet, the wound pierced in His side from the soldier’s sword to make sure that He was really dead. Those scars are evidence of hideous torture and intense agony. But they are also evidence of His deep love for His people. His scars exist because God the Father planned before the world was formed that He would send His Son Jesus into the world to redeem His people and save us from our sinfulness. The scars on Jesus’ body exist to glorify God the Father.
After his resurrection when Jesus appeared to His friends, they saw the nail prints on His hands and the wound in His side. They proved to them that He really was Jesus, risen from the dead. His body still bears the scars of crucifixion - they are evidence of His great love for His people. I know that when I see Him one day, I will look at those scars and remember what He has done for me. Through His sacrifice, I have peace with God.
I’m thankful for my restored health. I am thankful for all that God has done for me, sending His Son Jesus to die on the cross for my sin. And I am thankful for the scars. Instead of being something embarrassing and unwelcome, I’ve decided to look at each scar as a
Sacred Call to Always Remember. They will forever be reminders of God’s love and mercy. And those are things I don’t want to ever forget.