A British study concluded that the average person gets 9,672 injuries in a 78-year lifespan. That’s a lot of bandaids and boo-boos! Whether our scars are the result of a physical injury or an emotional heartbreak, they usually involve a time of healing. Let’s see what the Word of God says about marks and scars we receive. What we will discover is that not all of them are bad. Some, physical or emotional, can serve a good purpose. But did you know that there might be one you don’t even know about or that you cannot see?
VISIBLE SCARS AND MARKS
When I was about 4, I remember being chased by a dog that I thought was a wolf. It followed me all the way to my house! I ran as fast as I could, and didn’t even stop when I got to the front screened door. I ran right into it, face first. I remember the blood dripping down my face. Even though this happened nearly 50 years ago, I still have the marks to remind me of it.
Our visible scars can be useful. They act as reminders to us of something that occurred. They can bring up conversations which could be an opportunity to encourage another person who might be dealing with a similar experience. These visible scars also tell a story about our life.
Here are some Biblical physical examples of scars or marks, some caused by other people, and some by God himself:
Paul the Apostle – Over the course of Paul’s ministry, his body endured more torture than most could withstand. He had been beaten with rods three times, imprisoned multiple times, his feet put in stocks, five times received 39 lashes, stoned to near death, shipwrecked three times, and bitten by a poisonous serpent. He counted his pains and scars as joy, as his lot, because he was serving the Lord Jesus. Enduring these punishments and tortures, with the scars to prove them, was just a part of his ministry to share the truth of Jesus. He used them to tell the story of how great Jesus’ love for them was! Paul was a walking, talking miracle.
Jesus – When you consider his wounds – the scourging of 40 lashes, the crown of thorns pushed into his skull, the nail holes in his hands and feet, the hole from the sword piercing his side – Jesus suffered tremendously for us. But the beauty is, He still has the most important proof of who He is! Even after his resurrection, Jesus’ hands, feet and side retained the scars of crucifixion.
“Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.'” John 20:27
Cain – “And the Lord put a mark on Cain, lest any who found him should attack him.” Genesis 4:15b
Have you ever wondered what that mark looked like or where it was?
Cain’s mark was given to him due to his sin of murdering Abel, but it was also a mark of mercy from God. It warned others that they were not to kill Cain unless they wanted God’s vengeance sevenfold.
Israelites – “And the Lord said to him, ‘Pass through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it.’ And to the others he said in my hearing, ‘Pass through the city after him, and strike. Your eye shall not spare, and you shall show no mercy…but touch no one on whom is the mark.'” Ezekiel 9:4-6
Whether this was prophetic or not, it is a great example of the Lord putting a mark on people for the purpose of sparing their life.
INVISIBLE SCARS OR MARKS
Each one of us have at some point in our life experienced an emotional pain, a heartache, that mentally and emotionally can take a long time to heal. These range from someone bullying you, to a break-up, to the death of a loved one.
I was abused as a child by a man that I trusted. To have been betrayed by someone that I believed loved me, hurt in every way possible, and for a long time. I was scarred for life.
Though none of these scars or marks do we ask for, all of them, regardless of what point of healing we are at, will permanently be a part of us, and of our story.
The physical, mental and emotional wounds we receive all need a time to heal. Though our bodies were created with the incredible ability to recover from most injuries by healing itself, often times it takes much longer and we need additional help in recovering. Doctors, nurses, and medicines are all great tools in our getting healthy again, but those wounds that are on the inside, our hearts and minds, require a different approach.
My emotional scars from being abused have long ago healed. There were two ways that this happened: time, which certainly does help reduce and soften the distressing memories, and a miraculous intervention of the Lord. I have no doubt that my Heavenly Father dulled those hurtful memories. This was the direct result of learning how to forgive the one who caused me such great pain! Once I recognized this need to forgive, the emotional healing began. Now, many years later, I use this scar as a part of my testimony to help others learn to heal by forgiving.
If you can retell your painful past and it not hurt and be matter-of-fact, then you are healed!
The marks on your body that you deem as ugly or you try to cover up, let them show! You have a story to tell with them. They are a part of who you are. Don’t consider them as a blemish or undesirable, instead see them as an opportunity to connect with someone else, and maybe tell of Jesus’ healing in your life.
“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.”
1 Peter 2:24
Food for thought: Is it possible that we as believers are now ‘marked’ for God? Does the spiritual world see a mark and that is how they know we are God’s children, or is that seal the Holy Spirit in us? I think its both:
“And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.”
2 Corinthians 1:21-22
Fun facts: A scar is a two-sided coin: proof of a wound, and proof of its healing.
It is how you choose to look at it.
Scar stories: http://www.scarstories.org/our-scar-stories/
Photo by: Kari Wiseman – One-footed Crane