Scars

So I have this really ugly scar sitting on the knuckle of my left ring finger.

Like most scars, I acquired it unintentionally. A few years ago, I was digging a trench beside a brick walkway so we could bury the wire for an outdoor post light. Things were going pretty well until I went for one of the last shovelfuls of dirt, at which point I rammed my knuckle against the walkway’s concrete foundation. Wincing, I took a look at my hand to survey the damage.

And that’s when I caught a glimpse of my tendon.

My first thought was a rather disembodied sort of, “Well, huh.” My second thought, following the first in short order, was, “AUUUUGHHHABBUHBUHBUHBUHAAHHHH.” There were multiple reasons for my mental babbling, the primary ones being, (a) I could see my own tendon, (b) blood was beginning to flow freely from my newly acquired gash and (c) I could see my own tendon.

ScarLong story short, we eventually got everything cleaned out and bandaged up. For the next couple weeks, I watched my skin (slowly) knit itself back together. It was impressive to watch it repair itself, regaining functionality and flexibility, almost as if the gash was never there.

Almost—except for the scar. In spite of the liberal application of antibiotic cream and Band-Aids, my ever-narrowing scab began surrounding itself with a shiny pink ring of scar tissue. In time, it started to fade—but never completely. For the rest of my life, I’ll carry the reminder of the time I busted my knuckle on concrete.

There’s no accounting for the number of mishaps that can cause scars. It could happen to a patient on the operating table, a soldier in a firefight, or even a cook chopping vegetables for a meal—anytime our flesh is torn, we are liable to be scarred.

But there’s another, far more serious type of scar that every human being must come to terms with. It’s a scar invisible to the naked eye—a scar resulting from cuts that do not mar our skin, but our hearts.

As humans, we come equipped with emotions. Feelings. And although we are not to let these emotions rule us (Proverbs 16:32; 25:28), there’s no denying that how we feel has a huge impact on how we function from day to day. There’s also no denying that those same feelings can be crushed, trampled and mauled in the course of a lifetime.

Like physical scars, emotional scars can come from myriad sources, each differing in their impact. Tactless comments, cruel words, thoughtless actions—there is so much that can leave us feeling as if our hearts have been torn open and left to bleed.

King David bared a scar of his own in the Psalms when he wrote, “For it is not an enemy who reproaches me; then I could bear it. Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me; then I could hide from him. But it was you, a man my equal, my companion and my acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked to the house of God in the throng” (Psalms 55:12-14).

Countless other sections of the Bible tell tales of those who “were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented—of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth” (Hebrews 11:35-38).

These followers of God carried scars—physical and emotional—to their grave. No matter how much time passed, no matter how much healing took place, the scars they had acquired never completely went away.

That’s part of what amazes me so much when I read scriptures like:

…we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality…

(1 Corinthians 15:51-53)

and:

“Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”

(Revelation 21:3-5)

One day, God’s people will hear the trumpet they have spent their lives preparing for. One day, they will awake from their sleep with spiritual bodies that cannot be corrupted and scarred like human bodies. One day, the God who created us will personally wipe away pain from the world.

And one day, the scars will be gone.

Until next time,
Jeremy

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