Monday, May 9, 2016

Etching Scars of Remembrance

The healing process from surgery (read the beginning of this story here) is still ongoing, y'all. It has actually been quite fascinating to see my body slowly knit itself back together. I have never witnessed the healing process so close to the surface. It is actually quite miraculous how God made our bodies!

These incisions, when they finally heal, will apparently leave some pretty terrific scars. I recently had my last post-operative appointment with my doctor. As he examined my healing progress, he lamented about how careful he had been to leave no trace of this surgery. He had used especially small instruments and placed the incisions so they wouldn't be seen, no matter what type of clothing I chose to wear. He even told me about another patient of his who had the same surgery as me around the same time. Two weeks later, you could barely tell she had surgery at all! Not so with me.

My doctor carefully gauged my reaction as he told me I would have some scars. I think he expected me to be upset. Strangely, I accepted this reality very peacefully. And no, it is not because I have no vanity. If you have ever met me in person, you know how I love to wear beautiful dresses and makeup! No, I accepted these scars because I see a larger purpose for them. I believe God is etching scars of remembrance on my very skin.

The past three years have brought many lessons for me, some I learned much slower than I wished. I believe these scars are intended to be a reminder of those lessons, the lessons I will need for the rest of my life. As I thought about these scars, I wondered if the Bible had anything to say about scars. After all, we all have them. Maybe not so literal as scars after surgery, but we all have scars lurking on the surface of our hearts.

The Bible does in fact record one particularly significant instance of scars:

"Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve [disciples], was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, 'We have seen the Lord!'
"But he said to them, 'Unless I see the nail marks in His hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe it'.
"A week later His disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, 'Peace be with you!'
"Then He said to Thomas, 'Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe'" John 20: 24-27 (NIV).

Have you ever considered Jesus was scarred by His crucifixion? God could have healed those nail marks completely, but He allowed Jesus to keep them. Why? Based on these verses, Jesus' scars had a purpose. He used them as evidence, not only to prove to Thomas who He was, but to prove to the world what He had endured for love.

Compared to Jesus' scars, my scars are insignificant. The last thing I claim is to be like Jesus. However, I think there is a powerful lesson for all of us who have scars. Those scars you have not only on your body, but on your heart, are likely the evidence of life endured. The life stories, etched permanently in place. The sacrifices you have made for love. The injuries and mistakes you were delivered from. The lessons you learned during great suffering, but shaped you into the person you are today.

I think if God allowed His own son to have scars, He places great significance on them. Scars are not for nothing. If anything, they are for remembrance.