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Many of us can look back on our lives and can easily identify moments or seasons of pain and struggle, some brought on by our own mistakes and some by the mistakes of others. The proverbial scars are ugly and painful, and we try to hide them because of the shame we carry, but in doing so, we allow the enemy to keep our focus on the pain and injury, rather than the healing that has taken place since.
After He was crucified and raised from the dead, Jesus appeared to many people, including some of His disciples. Luke 24 shares the story that after seeing Jesus, the disciples were startled, thinking they had seen a ghost. Jesus told them to look at the scars in His hands and feet to prove it truly was Him and He was alive.
Christ’s scars show us two things. Firstly, they show it was indeed Him who hung on that cross. Those signs reflect the injury that was needed to fulfill all that was prophesied, and that act of love is certainly due its own remembrance and recognition. But if His scars solely represented His death, then we would have no hope.
Those scars also boast of the miracle that comes from true redemption and healing. They tell of His resurrection from the dead and the powerful, eternal hope we can experience for those who choose to believe. His scars tell both of His injury and of His healing. So is it too presumptuous to say, then, that our own scars could tell a similar redemptive story?
Like many of you, I too understand the pain that comes from carrying an ugly scar for so long. Almost two decades of secrecy, shame and bondage surrounded my scar of childhood abuse, and upon each quick glance, one more link was added to those chains that held me captive. Finally in my mid-twenties I sought professional counsel to remove the bandages I had placed on my shattered heart, and in His goodness and grace, God broke those chains to heal my story.
It was through my journey in counseling that the mental and emotional bondage I was under, because of how I saw that chapter in my life, had finally come to an end. The paradigm I had of my scarful story, began to shift from one of injury and shame to one of healing and redemption. It was then that I realized there is nothing that I had done or that had been done to me, that God could not redeem. And as if the fog had lifted and the sky opened up, I finally saw my scars for what they truly were: the proof of God’s redemptive story in my life.
In looking at those same scars (and many more that have occurred since), I now am able to view them as markers of healing, rather than hurt. Yes I remember the injuries, many of which I will never forget, but now and forever, they will be remembered in light of the cross – redeemed, healed, forgiven, and a mark to display His mighty power to those who so desperately need to hear that Good News.
God will use ALL things for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28). All things. Not some things or only the good things, but He will use even the pain, struggle and injury for our good and His glory. In His goodness, I can see now that God allowed my childhood circumstances to occur, only to gift me with opportunities to minister to those struggling in the same area (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
My friends, don’t cover or hide the scars you carry. Though they once were a symbol of brokenness, pain and hurt – memories you may never forget – my prayer for you is through proper healing and recovery, the paradigm you have of your own scars will shift to one in light of the cross: markers of healing that boast of the redemptive stories of our ultimate Healer that can be used to point others to Him.
Find more from Beth Nicoletto at selftalkthegospel.com.