I am covered with scars. For years I self-consciously found it necessary to hide them, especially the larger ones. That all changed some years ago when I received a call concerning young teenager who had an accident which required painful treatment. His parents and physicians had requested that I visit him before his procedure. In High School I had suffered a similar injury and undergone much the same treatment. As soon as I introduced myself, he reached up his hand and asked…”Can I touch them?” I knelt by his bed and guided his hand toward the many scars that remain as proof of my ordeal. After touching them, he said…”I needed to see that I can get better.”
I’ve also noticed that my youngest son periodically needs to see and touch my scars. He has a particularly large one on his knee about which he is always concerned. When he’s particularly worried that his is not healing right, he’ll reach up and touch mine asking, “How long ago did you say this was?” Somehow seeing how a scar heals reassures him.
A scar is the visible evidence that something has happened. But it is not just evidence of a wound; it is also evidence of a wound that has healed. In the Gospel of John (20:20), after his death and burial, Jesus showed his scars to the disciples so that they would recognize him. It was only when they saw the scars on his hands and feet that they knew he was back.
Life has a way of leaving its mark upon us. In the same way that Jesus used his scars as proof that he was alive and well…God often uses someone else who has been wounded to bring love, understanding, and healing to others. No one goes through life unscathed, yet we still try to hide our scars. God doesn’t use the perfection of actions to change the world. It’s the scars that remain from our healed faults and failures that God uses to give hope to the hopeless. We only find true spiritual wholeness when we embrace our brokenness for others. We would do well to remember that “wholeness comes more from pain and failure than joy and success (Unknown).”