…he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 2 Cor 5:15-17
Have you ever known someone who was fascinated with what the rest of us might call beat up old junk? They’re out there. My mom is one of them. She loves hand-me-downs, recycled stuff, and family heirlooms. She doesn’t like them because they are old, per say, but because they once belonged to someone she knew or is related to and that makes them special to her. I have a few hand-me-downs in my house too. Well, okay, maybe more than a few. I once joked with a friend that everything in my house, save the TV, had at some time belonged to a family member of mine. These days, a few more items originate with me or Bob, but not many.
We have a table at our house that is old as the hills. It boasts stains and dings, jabs in the wood and creaky legs and wings. It started out being a handsome shade of chestnut I imagine, but now, well, now it’s scarred and scraped and showing the years of wear and tear that it’s gone through. It’s kind of neat to think about the games that have been played on it, the dinners that have been served on it, the conversations that has occurred around it. You can’t miss the scars, though. At this point, the boogered up surface of the table is part and parcel of our home. The old gal has been with us a long, long time.
Today, I came across a passage in 2 Corinthians that made me think of the scars we carry with us as people. We often think of Jesus as perfect, blameless, and when speaking of his soul condition, he was, but he had scars. He wasn’t without blemish. That’s a good thing, because his scars are proof of the work he did while he was here, with us.
It was valuable work.
Heaven’s work, done at God’s command for our good.
Think about that for a minute. The scars tell the story of our Lord’s suffering. Also, of his deity. It had been foretold, and so it was.
When I was a kid I had stretch marks. I still have them today. That’s what happens when you have my skin type and you are 5’10” in the 5th grade. My children, thin as they were as children, had stretch marks. My thin niece had them too. They all have a similar skin type, they all have scars that came along with that skin type. Stretch marks are ugly things. No one wants them. Pregnant women, for the most part, hate them. They do everything they can to prevent them, but most end up with them anyway. It’s part and parcel of the pregnancy gig.
Socially, stretch marks are the unacceptable scars.
But they signify something important-growth!
Leaving the literal behind and moving toward the metaphorical, let’s talk about scars, the kind of scars that are left on our souls and not on our bodies. Could it be that the losses we have suffered in our lives, those emotional scars, are accomplishing for us proofs of our salvation?
Remember how scarred Job was when he sat on the ash heap, how completely broken and discouraged, and yet he never once denied the Lord or surrendered his faith to the world. With each sting, each scar and each scab, he clung more tightly to the one thing he knew—that God loved him and that no hardship, no hurricane, no half-baked criticism from his well-meaning friends could or would ever change that.
I think it might be the same for us.
We are scarred, but with each wound comes a subsequent affirmation of our continuing faith in God’s goodness. Giving God glory in the midst of suffering–it proves to the world that circumstances don’t define God’s love. Hardships don’t tarnish God’s love. Distance and heartache and loss don’t diminish God’s love—they only make it stronger.
At the point of conversion, we are new creations in Christ, perhaps meant to be scarred as a consequence of our travels here.
Christ’s scars were his proof of authenticity.
I wonder if our’s might not be the same.
Being scarred isn’t necessarily bad, is it?
Scars symbolize the night and the darkness that has imprinted itself upon our bodies and souls, but the Son will rise in the morning and when He does, there will be healing in His wings!