|An osprey guarding his nest|
Then, there is the ever present scar on my left elbow, but this came later in my life. On a lunch break from the office where I worked, I went to a local restaurant to pick up some food. It had been raining that day and quickly freezing in our Ohio winter. The parking area of the restaurant was blacktop so I was not able to see where the ice began. I ran from my car to get inside from the cold which resulted in a spectacular fall. I landed on my left side with my arm pinned under me. I thought nothing of it initially other than my arm hurt quite a bit. Back at the office, my left hand began to swell and suddenly pain set in. I had a badly broken arm which required surgery to put in a pin. Then, after the healing, they had to remove the pin. Lesson learned....don't run on a blacktop drive up north when the rain is freezing!
While these scars no longer hurt, I can remember quite well what caused them. The same is also true of spiritual scars. Wounds from broken relationships, loss of a loved one, emotional or physical abuse as well as church hurts can leave us with a scar. Hearts heal with the love of Jesus Christ, the passing of time, the giving of forgiveness and a decision to put things behind us, but the scar is there nevertheless.
This past week as I listened to "The Strange Fire" conference (live streamed from his church and some of which is available through Preterist Global on YouTube - eventually at Grace to You on the web) led by Dr. John MacArthur, I was reminded of the spiritual scars my husband and I carried from a painful experience in our past. It gave us time to remember what we had been through as well as where God has now guided us and we were grateful at how the Lord had worked all things together for good in our lives.
Paul wrote to the believers in Rome these words of encouragement found in Romans 8:28: "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." This is a verse well known to most of us, but I love Matthew Henry's commentary on this particular verse. He writes: "That is good for the saints which does their souls good. Every providence tends to the spiritual good of those that love God; in breaking them off from sin, bringing them nearer to God, weaning them from the world, and fitting them for heaven. When the saints act out of character, corrections will be employed to bring them back again. And here is the order of the causes of our salvation, a golden chain, one which cannot be broken." Indeed, God was at work even during and after the spiritual pain we had endured. He bound up our broken hearts. He set our feet on solid ground once again and led us to a pasture where we, His sheep, could be fed.
When I look at scars today, I am reminded of those painful circumstances, but even more, I am reminded of the grace of God which has brought healing into my life again. We must never let those scars intrude upon our thinking so much that we prevent God from working His good in our lives. In fact, we need to resolve to learn from the lessons which we have received that caused the scar in the first place. I know I never jumped on another roll away bed again after my experience. Likewise, my husband and I grew in our understanding of God's Word rather than run from the church altogether. We drew nearer to God and the study of the Bible. We examined doctrine making it a priority to know what we believed and why we believed it. This is how God brought good out of the hurt. Our Lord built us up again from the inside out.
No one is ever promised an easy life that skips over difficulties like a child at play. Nor are we always treated fairly by the world system or at times, other Christians. In fact, Jesus reminds us in John 16:33: "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." It is only through Christ that we can overcome the wounds we have faced. We must never let scars hold us back from trusting in the Lord but instead, see them as a point of God's redemption. He takes what is meant for evil by the enemy of our souls and turns it for our good and His purpose. May we rejoice in this truth and give Him the glory! Selah!
Have you experienced scars in your life that God has healed? I welcome your thoughts.