Friday, January 3, 2014

Brokenness and Scars


I have really struggled lately with a lot of things. I have struggled with life circumstances that I’ve been forced to deal with. You know, there are things we bring on ourselves, but then there are also things that get brought on us without our asking for them. I’ve had those types of issues to wade through: the unwanted and unasked for ones.

Through all of it, I haven’t ever doubted God. I’ve never given up on what I know He can do. I have had plenty of questions for Him and many times that I have not understood the path I was walking down, but I have not doubted Him.

I have spoken lately about my scars. I have used that word specifically to describe the wounds that I have inside of me. Emotional scars, not physical ones. Scars that seem like they will never heal. Before I used the word scars, I used to say that I was broken; that I had been damaged and was just broken inside. Lately, I've discovered, there is a difference between brokenness and scars.

Brokenness happens at single points in time. During single events of your life pieces of your heart and emotions get broken. The moment when you find out your husband is filing for divorce, a piece of you breaks. That time in the doctor’s office when you hear the devastating news of a disease, that will do everything it can to take you out if you don’t do everything you can to take it out, a piece of you breaks. The moment you realize that your life is forever changed because someone you love has left this earth, a piece of you breaks. The moment you discover that your best friend has betrayed you and those closest to you aren’t around anymore to make everything better, a piece (or two) of you breaks.

Brokenness is what happens when you realize the mess that you are in. It is the kick in the gut at the most inopportune times that makes you question everything you have ever known to be true.

Scars are very different than brokenness. Although they are there for the same reason that brokenness is, they are not a reflection of the pain. Scars don’t tell us that someone is hurt; they tell us that someone has healed. They don’t show us the injury, they show us the recovery.

Last night I came home from work and had a terrible head ache. I didn’t turn the TV on because the more noise there was in the house, the more my head ached. My husband came home after he got off from work and while I was finishing up dinner he turned the TV on. He turned it to Daystar (the only Christian television station we can get on our digital converter box and antenna).

As we sat down to eat, a piece of the 2013 Refreshing Times Conference came on. It was a message by Jimmy Evans. Now, I like Jimmy Evans, but I honestly wasn’t in the mood to hear a message on marriage. I just didn’t have it in me last night. The great thing is that God knew that. He knew that what I needed went much deeper than that. The message that Jimmy Evans shared was about the Scars of our Redeemer.

I haven’t really ever stopped to think about the scars that Jesus carried. I mean, I know about them, but I had never questioned them. Jesus died a horrible, excruciating, death on a cross after He had been beaten and whipped one strike away from death. If the story ended there, then scars would be expected.

The story didn’t end there. Why would Jesus, in His resurrected body, have scars? Why in His glorified, redeemed, resurrected state, would He have the ability to show the disciples the scars from his death? They were no longer wounds, because in His death and resurrection, they were healed, but they did leave scars.

One side note here: did you catch what I just said? “In His death and resurrection, Jesus’ wounds were healed”. Through the most horrible moments of Jesus’ earthly life, He was healed of the very thing that was wounding Him.

Many people have said before that because Jesus came to earth in human form, He was tempted and tried, just like we are, and that He had the same emotions and feelings as we do, so He understands the things we are going through in life. I have heard that often and I do believe that. But I had never before considered the fact that Jesus, when He could have so easily taken on a perfect, resurrected body, kept His scars. The question remains, why?

I don’t think that it was to “prove” He was who He claimed to be. The people He showed His scars to were people that He had spent a lot of time with. I think there would have been countless ways to prove to His disciples and family that it truly was Him and that He truly had been raised from the dead.

Here is what I think. Jesus wanted those around Him to see that even though He had been through such torture and torment, that God had healed Him. Even after death, God had restored Him and had made His life on earth a story of Redemption.

We have wounds, we have brokenness, and even if at this very moment in time, we don’t feel as though we have been healed of those, we do, or will have scars. Our scars are not ugly and they are not a reminder of the pain. Our scars, our redeemed, glorified scars, are a beautiful picture of the power of God to heal us from the most horrible moments in our lives. They are a reflection of His goodness and His love.

Satan will do everything he can to convince you to look at your scars as ugly, rotten, no good, painful wounds. He will try and tell you that you are useless and no good to God because of your scars. He will try to keep you in bondage to your wounds by trying to convince you that you have not been healed and never will be. He couldn’t be more wrong.

If Jesus can bear scars as a way to share the power of God and His love for others, then we can too. Stop trying to hide your scars. They don’t need to be covered up and you don’t need to be ashamed of them. Someone else needs to see them so that they can finally understand that God loves them and that He can change their life.

I wasn’t the one God chose to die on the cross for all mankind (thank goodness) but I am the one that He chose (and so are you) to go into all the world and preach the gospel. Scars are such an effective way to do that.

If you are struggling with an addiction, you don’t want to hear anything about how you will get through it from a person who has no clue what it is like to struggle with addiction. But if you run into a recovering alcoholic who tells you how much God loves you and he proves it to you by showing you his scars, you will listen much harder to what he has to say. You will listen because you understand that he has been there and that his life is better now than it was before.

I still have brokenness and I still have wounds. Everything in my life has not been completely healed yet. But I do have some scars and I have many more that are in the process of healing. I’m trusting God to finish that process.

One of the things that Jimmy Evans said is that when he was at his lowest point in his marriage, and Karen was in the bedroom packing to leave him, he told God, “If you will help us, we will help others”.

That is my prayer to God today. Lord, help me heal so that I will have the scars to help others.



4 comments:

  1. I have always been ashamed of my scars, but over the last couple of months I have began to learn that my healing via God's grace can be a huge encouragement to others. Thanks for writing this!

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    1. Thanks for reading it Ashley!! God is SO good even in the hard times!! Keep encouraging!!

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  2. Well said! I've learned to embrace my scars, because they are a reminder of how far God has brought me. It's not easy to do in the midst of the pain, but once the healing begins, scars can be a great reminder of God's grace and mercy.

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    1. Absolutely Lynnae! Thanks for the comment!!

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