As Easter is approaching, our minds turn to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. I love this time of year and studying the events leading up to Easter morning. We bake the hams, and color the eggs, and reflect on His pain and His triumph. We eat deviled eggs and egg salad for the days following and look forward to warmer weather.
However, there is more to the story than death and resurrection. Yes, those are the most important parts without a doubt. They are the basis of our salvation. But there is more…if you want to know more. After He arose, He didn’t just ascend back to heaven to stay. He returned to earth to visit those He loved and who loved Him.
According to one note in my Bible, Jesus appeared on 12 different occasions over the course of about 40 days. One of my favorite accounts is in the book of John. (As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been following a Bible reading plan that will allow me to complete the Bible in one year. The plan divides the reading among OT and NT, so I don’t get bogged down in one book.) The passage in John 20:19 – 30 really spoke to me as I read it.
Jesus had appeared to His disciples. After he spoke to them, He immediately showed them His hands and His side. The hands that had been nailed to the cross and His side that had been pierced with a sword. Why would he do this? He was Jesus. They had all spent so much time together. Wouldn’t they recognize Him? He showed them His hands and His side because He kept His scars. Jesus, the one who healed the leper’s skin and made the withered hand whole, kept His own scars. He could have easily healed His own fleshly body and made it whole as well, but He didn’t.
He knew His disciples would need them. He didn’t need them anymore. He had already died and rose again. His time in His earthly body could have been finished. Yet, He knew the heart and mind of His disciples. He kept the scars for them. They needed to see them. They needed to know beyond a doubt that He was who He said He was and that He did what He said He did. The scars were His proof. They were the evidence His disciples needed to believe without a doubt.
Thomas even says, “Unless I see the nail marks in His hands and put my finger where the nails were and put my hand into His side, I will not believe it.” (John 20: 24 – 25) Jesus knew…He knew they needed those scars, so He kept them. He used them to benefit His followers. When Thomas put his fingers on Jesus’ hands and put his hand in Jesus’ side, he said, “My Lord and My God!” Thomas needed to see those scars to believe.
We all have scars. Some visible on our bodies and some hidden deep in our hearts. Scars from physical hurts and scars from emotions so painful they may even bring tears to your eyes today. Know this – Your scars are beautiful to God. That surgery that left a mark on your body – it is beautiful. That heart breaking relationship that left a scar on your heart – it is beautiful. That betrayal that left your spirit crushed – it is beautiful. He can use the scars left on you and in you to not only help you grow but to help you help others – just as Jesus used His.
Scars are a result of pain. They have to be inflicted by cutting, breaking, and hurting. They form thicker and more protective over our wounds. They pucker and they stretch. They come back discolored and sometimes jagged. That spot will never be the same. Yes, it has healed, but there is a permanent reminder left behind. Why?
Maybe they are for us. They serve as proof that we did survive whatever tried to hurt us. We are stronger than we believed. Life does go on despite the pain. We can look upon them as reminders of those times in our lives when we didn’t know how we were going to make it, but here we are.
Maybe they are for others. We can share them and show them and say, “Yeah, see? Me too. I’ve been there, but here I am now.” They are our proof, our evidence, to share with others that yes, we survived that divorce, that car wreck, that loss of a job, or that loss of someone so loved.
Scars are beautiful to God. He designed our bodies to carry them. We heal but not without a reminder. Not without a keepsake. I bet you see them on your body and in your heart. You may not even remember how you got some them, but others…others you may remember all too clearly. Use them. Offer them up. Let God know you are ready and willing to help yourself and others through your scars – just as Jesus helped Doubting Thomas. You are stronger because of them. Use it for His glory.
“They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see…” Luke 24: 37 – 39
Father God, we are so thankful for Your sacrifice that offered us the way to salvation. We thank you for the pain Jesus willingly suffered for our sins. We thank you for His scars and for His wounds. We know by them we are healed physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Help us use our own scars to help others – to further Your Kingdom. Help our hearts and the hearts of our children look beyond the colored eggs and fluffy bunnies to the cross. Let us never forget Your love for us – a love that is greater than all of our sins. We thank You for that great Love, God. We love you in return and we thank You for what You have done for us and for who You are to us. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
A few years ago, I began to seriously keep a journal. I don’t write every day, but I do write often. The pages are filled with notes, scriptures, song lyrics, lines from books and sermons. They are also filled with some of the day to day events that we have faced over the last few years. Sometimes I go back and re-read what I have written. It is pure joy to see where we have been and where God have brought us through His love and grace.
My first journal was a gift, and it is so very pretty 🙂 Just know you don’t have to have “pretty”. Get a legal pad, one of your kid’s old spiral notebooks, use the back of your grocery list – whatever you have, you can use. Began to keep track of God’s Hand in your life.
Why is this important? Because sometimes we forget. Sometimes despite the scars, we don’t remember that victory, that answered prayer, or sometimes that horrible news. We NEED to remember. God wants us to remember His faithfulness and use it to help ourselves and to help others. So…keep a journal…If you don’t know where to start, start with a prayer list – people and situations that you are lifting up to Him. Or…write down things you are thankful to have in your life. Your job, your children, your spouse…or maybe the soft breeze, the wagging tail of your favorite dog, the first taste of that morning cup of coffee…
These serve as your evidence that He is who He says He is…”My Lord and My God.”