Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Scars

I have a scar.

It is big and ugly and most of the time it remains hidden under bandaids or disguised by make-up and cleverly placed clothing which bely the tenderness underneath. But it is always there.

Most of the time I forget about it. I can even imagine it doesn't exist, that that painful situation which left me this forever-mark never occurred. But then, when I least expect it some minor incident, a tiny situation, brings all the pain rushing to the surface again and reminds me that I am scarred.

Jesus has scars. Even today, He sits in heaven with marks on His hands and His feet and a wound in His side. While His body was transformed at the resurrection, His scars remained as silent witnesses to a costly love. When he walked the earth after his resurrection, Jesus invited Thomas to put his hands on his scars, to touch them and feel them. "Reach your finger here and look in My hands and touch your hand here and put it into My side," He said (John 20:27).

For Jesus, His scars were no longer reminders of pain but testaments of love to a doubting and unbelieving people. They were tangible evidence of hope and faith to people who were facing the circumstances of His death and fighting despair, people who were battling to believe in the reality of His unconditional all-redeeming love in the face of the pain of a fallen world.

Sometimes our own scars make it difficult to believe in God's love. After our faith is shaken by trials and challenges in our walk with Him, we find a way to trust Him again and go on about our lives until some unsuspecting situation suddenly reveals the scars, the tenderness that still lingers in our hearts and sends us into downward spirals of doubt. Our own vivid memories of pain nearly drown out that still small voice of our Savior, who is calling out to us, "Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself." (Luke 24:38).

I must admit, when my scars are exposed and the memory of pain begins to well up within me, I want to recoil and retreat, to nurse my wounds in the quiet and familiar comfort of my own despair and unbelief. But instead, He asks me to reach out ... He invites me, like Thomas, to "handle Him and see" (Luke 24:39), to stretch out my hand to touch his scars and see the eternal marks of His love for me.

And as I do, His love, His overwhelming, all-consuming love, comes in like a flood again and I can but fall at His feet and exclaim, "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28).

Jesus has scars.

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