Sacred Scars (Reflection)

Sacred ScarsSometimes memories just pop in your head.  It’s easy to dismiss them; but not so fast!  Even if they are reminders of sin, or guilt, or shame, these intrusive memories have the power to give new life, to bring about conversion, to let you hear the voice of God.

He asked me, quite softly and sincerely, “What happened to your head?”  I had no idea what he was asking, because it was hot and I was playing the worst round of golf I had ever played.  Plus, I didn’t even know who he was.  I was on his foursome for some charity that I had also forgotten about since I was so embarrassed by my inability to have a single good shot for the team.

“What happened to your head–those scars” he asked again?  When the hot afternoon sun would beat on my bald scalp, and my skin would turn deep red, the scars would become more visible. “Oh, those!  My head went into a windshield in a car accident a few years back.  You wanna see some scars?  Look at the one on my knee from the surgery which left me with a metal plate and four titanium screws on my tibial plateau.”  He looked down admiringly.

Why would I remember that incident now—in the middle of the day ten years later, no stimuli to trigger the thought?   God are you speaking?

Everyone has scars.  Some visible, some invisible; some seen, some unseen; some caused by others; some self-inflicted.  And the ones that were self-inflicted, the deep ones, the ones that are buried under the layers and layers of self-protective shields–the ones we say, shamefully when exposed, that we caused ourselves, when we know that someone else handed us the knife–they are the beautiful ones; those are the scars of eternal life; those are the scars that can heal others.

I have scars on my head, on my legs, on my hands, all over my body, and, also, most seriously, on my soul and in my heart.  They are mine; so I love them.  But when I see the scars of others I am often repulsed, especially the big ones, the gnarly ones—the ones that see into me.  Yet, others see my scars and are enamored.  They know that the there is a story behind them, a story not unlike the story of their own scars; a story of hurt, of pain, of suffering, and, yes, of healing.  We love the story of our scars because they are a reminder of our healing, of the love of God, who did not cause our pain or suffering or hurt, but Who bound us up in His own love.

I remember, as a child, wanting a scar across my cheek, from top to bottom, that stretched when I smiled, a sign of the struggle to save face, a relic of a battle to remain humble, and the symbol of a victory over adversity.   Can you see that scar under my skin?

We cover up our scars to our own demise; we hide them to our emotional peril.  Let them tell the story, let them speak forth the glory of God.  Let light shine through the scars so that men can see them and praise Him who “was wounded for our transgressions, pierced for our inequity,  and by Whose scars we are healed!”

The image of our scars are being made into image of God.  So gaze upon the stripes of God, and marvel at the blood that still flows.  “See the marks in His hands; put your finger in the scars left by the nails,” and live… really live.

© Paul Dordal, 2013


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