I have a little scar on my knee. It happened when I was about eight years old I think. I was playing at the park, with two of my brothers and my Dad. I decided to walk along the seesaw and make it tip from one end to the other but as I was confidently walking I misjudged quite how extreme the tip would be and I fell onto the gravel. My dad came over to see what had happened and there was a lot of blood, a lot of tears and a piece of gravel stuck in my knee. We made our way home, in fact I was pushed in my little brother’s pushchair because I didn’t deal well with pain and could barely walk! We got home and mum cleaned it up and my Dad went to the shed for a screwdriver! When he came back we were all a little disturbed at the thought of what he would do with the screwdriver but he very quickly held me tight and flicked out the gravel from my knee with the screwdriver. Having a Dad in ‘the trade’ had many benefits!! :-/ But it worked and I now look fondly at my scar. The scar that was born out of pain and suffering, now speaks of healing and reminds me of how my Daddy got that piece of gravel out.
We all have scars: some physical and some emotional. Some that we look at with fondness because they ignite memories of how far we’ve come but some that still remind us of pain and suffering. Some people’s scars are bigger and deeper than others but nevertheless we all bear them in some way.
My journey over the last year has left me scarred. I will never be the same again. In fact as it turns out the last two weeks have left me physically scarred from surgery that will be a permanent reminder of one of the most traumatic times in my life. I am wounded and my body is scarred but I find comfort in the fact that Jesus too bears the scars of his darkest hour. In fact in His darkest hour He cried, “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?” (Mat 27:46) If I’m honest I have felt like that. I have felt like shouting, “why have you left me? Where are you?” But He never left and actually He saved me from something even worse. It is comforting to know that even Jesus felt like His Dad had left him, but God saw it all, the whole picture and He knew the right time to step in.
During this time I have longed to feel the protection of God. I knew it was there but I didn’t feel it. I knew I was safe, but I didn’t feel safe and in our human minds that is a real emotion that can be difficult to deal with. As I lay in my hospital bed I cried out to God and said, ‘Please… you have got to do something, I can’t take anymore’, and right at the last minute, or so it felt to me, God stepped in and He said ‘That’s enough!’ His grace sheltered me from more pain and I felt His protection.
A few days later I was reading in the UCB word for the day and the verse was Job 1:10 ‘You have… put a wall of protection around him…’ and I felt that. It then went on to say:
There are times… ‘When the enemy comes in like a flood…’ (Isaiah 59:19 NKJV) to attack your mind, your marriage, your ministry and anything that is born of God in your life. When that happens Isaiah says, ‘the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard (shield) against him’. When you feel you’re at breaking point and you can’t handle one more thing, the Holy Spirit lifts up the wall of the blood of Jesus and tells satan, ‘This far and no further!’
This passage will mean something different to all of us, but for me the part that says ‘anything that’s born of God in your life’ is significant. It rung true with me that, the thing that is being attacked is being so because it is born of God. It’s not just something I want, it is born of God so the enemy wants to destroy it. Interestingly, in my story, I knew that the enemy was involved and he tormented me with irrational fear about a particular issue. I asked some close friends to pray into for me and some strange things started to happen, to the point where I was being rushed in to hospital on account of the very thing I was scared of but I knew the enemy had gone too far and not for one minute did I believe even the doctors when they said we are concerned that it was what I initially feared. I knew it was a lie, but it was that lie that caused the investigations and following surgery, and I now see how God has totally redeemed that situation, you see I would not bear the scars had it not been for that lie and, as a result, I would not have the proof of where God has brought me from.
When Jesus died on the cross the nails that pierced his hands and feet left him scarred. Actually the word ‘pierced’ does not describe the horror of what happened. The nails ripped His skin and veins and muscles. The pain of that alone would have been unbearable but He bore that pain on our behalf and I believe He still bears the scars.
If we look at the closing chapter of the book of Luke we find an account of the risen Jesus appearing to his disciples.
‘While they were talking about this Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ They were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, ‘Why are you frightened, and why do you doubt in your hearts? Look at my hands and feet; see that it is myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have. And when he had said this he showed them his hands and his feet.’
His scars were the proof that He was, and still is, who He said He was. Any who doubted were convinced at the sight of His scars.
My scars are proof of what I have been through and how we have suffered but in the future they will be proof of where God took me from and how he made beauty from ashes. Perhaps I will even look fondly upon them as a sign that He has shown me that He is all that He says He is.
I want to be in that place.
The place where Jesus met His disciples and said ‘Look! It’s really me!’ The place where He went from feeling forsaken to fully rescued and restored beyond belief. The place where scars are not seen as a product of pain anymore but of healing and wholeness, where my scars become proof of where I was and what God has brought me through.
We bear the scars of this world.
So does Jesus.
We should remember His scars often. We should always remember the pain He suffered but alongside that remember His scars with overwhelming love and gratitude. If I could I would kiss His hands and His feet, because my heart is bursting with thankfulness and hope that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in us and that our Dad is exactly who He says He is.
The Psalmist said in Psalm 61:2 ‘…When my heart is faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I’. In the Word for today the passage concludes by saying,
When your resources are depleted and you think you’re going under for the last time, God has provided a refuge that’s higher than your circumstances, a place where you’re under divine protection and the enemy has no jurisdiction. All you have to do is lift your eyes toward heaven.
So as I lift my eyes I feel safe again. I think back to my Dad removing the gravel from my knee with a screwdriver and I think “I wouldn’t’ have done it like that!” and I imagine many of you would feel the same, but it worked and I now think fondly of that moment. This can be true of our encounters with the Most High sometimes. We can say “I wouldn’t’ have done it like that!” but He knows far more than we do, and He is always good and always right.
We suffer and we bear the scars, but one day our scars will be evidence and proof of what we have been rescued from in fact, it is promised in 1 Peter 5:10 ‘And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.’
Look up. It is well.