A couple of years ago while when I was in seminary, I wrote a post on Facebook. I thought I’d post my thoughts about the topic here because I feel like it’s still relevant.
I have scars. Several in fact. In the physical sense I have two main ones. One is from having my appendix removed when I was very young (around 4 or 5). The other is on my left index finger from having a coffee cart dropped on it and smashing it while I was in Seattle. They aren’t as defined as they once were but you can still see them (especially the one on my finger since it’s in plain sight.)
I also have emotional scars. Some of my own making because of immaturity, some from others (through their words and actions). But they are there. Those you have a hard time seeing unless I open up and share about them. But they are a part of me as well.
I think for a long time I’ve tried to hide my scars. You want to be seen as “perfect” even though we all know that’s never the case. But it doesn’t mean those scars aren’t there just because I try to hide them. They’re still there and I shouldn’t be trying to hide them for one simple reason. They are there for a purpose.
As we know from physical scars, there was first a wound. There was a cut or surgery or something that cause there to be a wound that needed to be treated. Sometimes those wounds healed quickly. Other times, those wounds would take a long time to heal. But when they did heal, there remained a scar. That scar showed that healing had taken place.
Like physical scars, emotional scars come from a wound. Whether it’s an action or words that someone speaks, they cut and hurt. Emotional wounds can cut deep and healing needs to take place. Sometimes the healing process is quick and other times it takes time. And like physical scars, there are emotional scars that remain.
I believe that God uses those emotional scars as a reminder of His healing in our lives and how He continues to be with us. I’m not a patient person. Even though I’m better than I used to be, I’m still not as patient as I could be. When I’m sick or hurt, I want to hurry up and get better. But you can’t rush healing. It takes time. I think it’s the same emotionally, You have to have time to heal. However, when you are healed, you can look back and see how you are taken care of through the whole thing by Him.
When I look at the scar on my finger as I tend to do from time to time, I remember the incident. However, there is no pain involved. I don’t experience the pain I felt from the accident each time I look at my scar. What I do remember is that God was watching out for me, and He took care of me. The same can be said for my emotional scars as well. I can look back on events now that have happened in the past and I don’t feel the pain about them anymore. I may bear the scars but I don’t feel the pain. I’m reminded of how He has led me to the point in my life where I am now. Even though it has not been easy following Jesus, I don’t know anywhere else I could be or should be. That assurance that Jesus gave His disciples in Matthew 28:20 about being with them “always” (or in the Greek, “all of the days”) is an assurance that I have too.
So I try to not be ashamed or hide my scars. Instead, I hope that I can use the stories that come from them to reflect Jesus and the impact that He has and continues to have in and through my life.