Faith Journeys

The Scars That Tell a Story

I looked at my stomach and saw the latest scars that were in this area as a result of a new treatment. These new scars were surrounding a much bigger scar from bowel surgery. I then looked at all the other scars on my body and saw that each scar told a story, but more importantly each scar points me back to the One who has scars in His hands and feet.

The new scars are little dots scattered throughout my stomach. I wonder if they will be there forever, or if they would fade over time along with the memory of the treatment. I wonder how many of these scars will be there.

The scar from my bowel surgery reminds me of the events of November 5 2004, where I underwent emergency bowel surgery at the age of 17. It reminds me of the time when I only weighed 35kg, and couldn’t keep food or water down for weeks. It reminds me of the numerous scans that occurred during that time, as the doctors determined how long I have before I needed this surgery, turns out not very long. Although, this scar reminds me of the events that took place that day, it also reminds me that I have a loving Heavenly Father who was right there with me. A loving Father who ensured my surgeon was available to do the surgery on that Friday night, even if I was meant to be on a cruise with my friends on Sydney Harbour. It reminds me that I spent that time in pre-op singing “my God is so big, so strong and so mighty there’s nothing my God cannot do”. That still remains true today.

I see the scars on my arm that occurred March 5 1999, when I broke my arm. It reminds me of the unbearable pain that occurred with my bone sticking out of my arm. It reminds me that I missed out performing with my choir, while I underwent surgery to put both bones back together. It reminds me of the year of ongoing treatment for my arm as I fought infection, and saw the function in that arm further decline and never really come back. But it also reminds me of the way the Lord took care of the events that day and throughout the recovery process. I remember the way God orchestrated events that year, and help me develop a trust in Him that He goes before me in life events.

Then there are the scars on my knees and hands from falling given my instability as a result of my disability, and the scars from years of self-harm as a result of my mental illness. Some of these scars are external, but more are internal. Some of these scars a superficial and go away over time, but some are deep and remain. Even though these scars remind me of my brokenness the most, these scars are also the ones that remind me the most of the scars on Jesus hands and feet. These scars remind me that no matter how many times I fail and fall into the temptation of self-harm to escape the pain from my internal scars, there is One who has died on the cross for me, and forgiven me for these actions.

Most importantly these scars remind me that Jesus too has scars that tell a story, a story of a Father who sent His son on the greatest rescue mission, to save us from our sins. Jesus experienced the highs and lows of life, just like I do. He knows what it is like to suffer pain, be tempted, be tormented, feel lonely and isolated. He has experienced everything that I do, and is the only one who truly knows what it is like to live the life that I have. Hebrews 4:15 tells me, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.” He knows my weakness. He knows my frame (Psalm 139:15). He knew the scars on my body and why they are there even before I was ever created (Psalm 139:16). He knew that my scars would point me to His scars that tell a story of His love for me.

My scars also give me hope, because His scars heal me (Isaiah 53:5). His scars mean that one day I will receive a new body in heaven. A body that is perfect (Philippians 3:20-21). A body that is not full of scars because of my multiple illnesses and disability. A body that is not twisted by muscle contractions, or constantly in pain or a mind that is in turmoil (Revelation 21:4). No I will have a restored body and soul, but in the meantime the scars on my body will point me to that day, when I get to stand in front of my Creator and bow before Him. 

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Author

briar@strengthdignityhope.com

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