Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Scars Have a Story

Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don't be faithless any longer. Believe!" John 20:27

I have seen a few brutal looking scars. Each of my friends who has one of those scars has a shocking story of undergoing surgery in her homeland which still uses primitive medical practices.  I find it interesting that my Muslim friends want to show me their scars and tell me their stories. I try not to stare indiscreetly at the scars but they do have a way of capturing my full attention. One thing is for sure: I can’t disbelieve their stories that they had surgery! The scars are proof.

Scars become permanent reminders of something we have gone through. We can never forget what happened. They don’t hurt anymore, thank God. The wounds are closed up and healed. I have seen some scars that are shown off like trophies. Richard Wurmbrand showed me some of his scars where he had been tortured for his faith with cigarette butts. I’m sure they elicited painful memories for him but they turned into spiritual trophies of testimony that God helped him to stand firm through persecution. Then there was Ahmed Ali Haile who lost part of a leg as a result of a grenade intentionally targeted at him to silence his witness as a follower of Christ. His scars were a trophy of courage and endurance. Today he is observing His Savior’s scars in heaven.

The apostle Paul writes in Galatians 6:17, “From now on don’t let anyone trouble me with these things. For I bear on my body the scars that show I belong to Jesus.” His scars were reminders. Trophies. Proof and evidence of belonging to Christ. I imagine he had multiple scars all over his body from stonings and imprisonment and beatings. He wore his scars with a sense of pride and honor. We will identify Jesus by His scars when He will return. Jesus’ scars are being beheld by angels in heaven now and one day we will be able to behold His scars, too. We will probably stare at them, much like I have stared at my friends’ scars. They tell a story. None of us want emotional wounds but inevitably they will come to anyone in Muslim ministry. Oh, how they hurt! An invisible emotional wound that seemed to take forever to heal was when I felt betrayed by Fatima whom I had invested in significantly. One day she said, “I love you, Joy – but….” It’s been a long time of rare contact since that day. Thank God that He pours healing balm even into our emotional wounds and closes them up. We are left only with scars on our souls. They remind us that God gave us grace to bounce back.

If your Muslim friend shows you her scars and tells you her story why not direct her attention to the risen Savior of the world who also has scars and tell her the wonderful story of salvation? Jesus’ scars are meant to give her life.

Dear heavenly Father, I am awed that one day I will see Jesus’ scars. I know I will fall down and worship Him, captured and enraptured by His sacrificial love for me. Amen.