“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. II Corinthians 1:3-5 (NIV)
I have an ugly scar on my left knee. I got it one cold, crisp afternoon when I was about ten years old. I fell while ice skating on a bumpy, makeshift pond in our front yard. The rough homemade ice caught my knee taking out a huge chunk of flesh. Blood began to soak through my torn snow pants as I sobbed and hobbled back home on my wobbly skates. Although it’s been over 30 years since that chilly and painful day, I still have a scar on my left knee. That, however, is not my only blemish. I have a matching scar on my right knee. It’s from sledding down a steep hill and crashing smack into a tree. Then there’s the round little scar on my forehead from the summer of 1978 when I had the chicken pox. If only I had believed that universal mother’s warning…”If you pick them, you will scar.”
Besides these physical scars from my past, I also have emotional wounds that run deep. They are painful memories of my youth, or seemingly healed wounds from wrong choices I’ve made. It’s easy to cover our physical scars and hide them from the outside world. We can buy over-the-counter gel that is supposed to make our flesh scars disappear; and plastic surgery can remove the more dire scars. But what do we do with our emotional scars?
After years of pretending they didn’t exist and making a concerted effort to conceal them from others, I came across today’s verse. What an awakening! The bumps and bruises I’ve experienced have become part of who I am. However ugly or painful they may be, they can be redeemed and even used by God. He doesn’t want me to ignore the scorched places in my heart and past. Nor does He want me to run from them. He wants to comfort me in the midst of them. Then, when I am able, He wants me to do the same for others.
It never ceases to amaze me how God constantly outsmarts Satan. While the enemy loves to trip us up and make us fall, God desires that we walk in a way that honors Him and makes His name known. Rather than letting the pains and wrong choices of our past defeat us, rendering us unfit for God’s service, God will make use of our mistakes and our less-than-perfect circumstances. He can take our willingness to open up about them, being real rather than plastic, to encourage a weary traveler along life’s journey. If we let Him, our forgiving and patient Lord will turn our ugly scars into beautiful stars!
Dear Lord, I admit that I have scars in my life. Rather than opting for a quick fix, I want desperately to let You heal my scars and cleanse my sin. Take my life and let it be something that is useful in Your kingdom. May others be warned by my mistakes and prompted to prayer by my decisions. Turn my scars to stars that will shine brightly for You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Related Resources: Do you know Him?Who Holds the Key to Your Heart?
by Lysa TerKeurstYour Scars are Beautiful to God
by Sharon Jaynes
Do You Know Him?
In your journal, list the events in your life that have been less-than-lovely. Look over the list. Are there events that still require action from you? Any confessions you need to make or someone’s forgiveness you should seek? Obey God’s promptings about these issues.
If you have any especially painful issues that you must deal with, don’t go it alone. Seek the advice of a trusted biblical counselor or godly mentor. Commit to making contact with such a person today.Reflections:
Have you ever known a person who took a dire situation and, with God’s help, turned it around and made it a useful tool for His kingdom?
What would be the outcome if we chose not to confess our sins or talk about our scars?
I John 1:8-10 “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.” (NIV)
Genesis 50:20 “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (NIV)