Every scar tells a story. Something happened to create it. When we think about scars, we may think about physical ones. Cuts from self-harm. Stitches from surgery. Marks that happened to us accidentally. Some we cannot recall ourselves. ‘How did that happen?’ we wonder, but we can’t remember the details. Other scars leave a lasting impression because they were put there by someone else. The details are sadly imprinted on the mind, and body, permanently. Some scars fade over time. Others are clearly visible all the time.
What about the scars we don’t see? The words of pain engraved in our minds. The emotional wounds we carry around with us.
‘This treatment has a 50/50 chance of working.’
50/50. It bounces around inside my mind for a little while. The consultant keeps talking but I don’t really hear what else he is saying. 50/50. Depending on the diagnosis and the treatment options that could be a good or a bad statistic. All I was thinking of was my two small children at home. The statistics leave scars.
‘Your father never wanted you.’
The callous comments of a step-father who wanted to crush the spirit. The reminder of a biological father who abandoned their flesh and blood, and left a young woman a single mother.
Words in the playground tossed about smack the self-esteem under the ground. Whispered comments from opinionated adults. Years of life have been given over to the lies that left a scar that no one could see. Every outfit. Every glance in the mirror.
Memories can leave our minds beaten and bruised. Trauma can leave us with little memory at all. The scars matter. We cannot ignore them. Nor should we.
There is hope for the wounded and weary. There is hope for the scarred and scared. There is hope for the lost and lonely. Hope is found in Jesus who knows what it’s like to be suffering and scarred.
Jesus had scars. Physical beatings. Lashings. Nails pounded into hands and feet. A spear pushed into his side. He carried the weight of every sin that was ever committed upon Himself at the cross. A heavy burden that we could not carry. Read these words from Isaiah 53:3-6 (NLT) – a prophecy that pointed towards Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross (emphasis added):
He was despised and rejected—
a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.
He was despised, and we did not care.
Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
it was our sorrows that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,
a punishment for his own sins!
But he was pierced for our rebellion,
crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.
All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
Yet the Lord laid on him
the sins of us all.
Our hurting world has hope – a Rescuer. A Saviour. One who walked in the midst of a broken society, who had compassion, who healed, who loved, who fed the hungry. But He came to give us Himself.
Bread runs out. Water runs dry. Bodies wear out. But Jesus came to give us life – now and everlasting. Circumstances that seem hopeless will afflict us and come against us. Yet, when we trust in Jesus, He is with us in the mess, the pain and the sorrow. He reminds us of who He is. His character. His promises. The hope we can know.
Scars are still a part of us. Suffering is everywhere we look it seems. But the scars and the death of Jesus are not the end of the story. In fact, Jesus still has visible scars today. Read this article ‘His Scars Will Never Fade: The Wounds Christ Took to Heaven‘ as I would like to go into more depth about it, but someone has covered it well elsewhere! His resurrection and work in the lives of believers continues in our own stories. His scars tell the story of the greatest rescue mission the world has ever known. Our stories as Christians point to the Rescuer and our hope is in Him when all around us is fading.
I urge you, friends, if you do not know Jesus for yourself and have never come to Him before, do so today. Ask yourself: Where is my hope? For those of us who may be struggling with the very real pain and sorrow of life, and are struggling to see God in it at all, my prayer for you is that this circumstance will drive you to the only One who can give you the peace, the hope and healing you long for. Healing may come now or it may not. It’s something that I have wrestled with and continue to think about. Yet, Jesus is always an ever-present help in time of trouble (Psalm 46:1). When you trust Him, you have the Spirit that He gives. He promises never to leave you or forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6).
And this world will eventually wear out. Nothing stays the same. Except God. He promises that He will return and one day there will be no more death, mourning, crying or pain, and there will be a new heaven and earth. Without Him, there is no lasting, unshakeable hope. The risen Jesus proves that there is life after death; He has overcome our last, greatest foe, which is death. You can know Him now. Don’t live life in the dark when the light of Christ can shine into the darkness. All that remains is eventual death and darkness without Him. Let His light pierce your darkness. Let His love speak tenderly to your pain. Let His hope heal your heart.
Where is your hope?
Come to Christ today.