“No wound? No scar?
Yet, as the Master shall the servant be,
And piercèd are the feet that follow Me.
But thine are whole; can he have followed far
Who hast no wound or scar?”
No one makes it through this life without scars. Not even Jesus.
I entered this world with multiple birth defects. I was missing my left leg, hip and kidney and had many other congenital problems all requiring 23 surgeries by the age of 13 . My body is crisscrossed with their incision marks. I wouldn’t be alive without them. These scars stand for healing that looked like incredible medical intervention.
Then there are the scars that can’t be seen. The betrayals, the disappointments, the losses, the abuse, the hard things of this fallen world that puncture our hearts and rip at our souls. Scarred stories of survival and strength to forgive and let the things meant to destroy us become the very things that make us most dangerous to darkness.
This last season was one of incredible loss for me personally and it has only been the nail prints in Jesus’ hands that have held me together through its fury. I expected to live the rest of my life raising the children rescued through the project I started in South Sudan. There was no plan B. I never expected to live anywhere else.
But after almost 7 years of establishing the base in incredibly adverse conditions and 18 rounds of cerebral malaria, my health crashed completely forcing a move I never would have chosen.
Transitions are always hard. This one was brutal. False accusations, betrayals of trust, watching my life be forcibly uprooted from dreams and relationships. It was like losing 130+ children, many of my friends, people I trusted to have my back, much of my purpose, my health, my home & my livelihood all at one time. The grief of it sometimes crushed the very breath from my lungs. I spent most of the 18 months just trying to keep breathing.
But I was not one second ever alone. Jesus was alone on the cross so no matter what I walk through here, not matter what you walk through here, no matter how hard or difficult or unfair or painful… We are and will never be alone. Jesus paid the price of being alone so we never will be.
It was love that pierced the hands and feet of Jesus, not nails. If we choose to walk in His love, we too will have scars. Betrayal will come. Pain will come. Being misunderstood, accused and cursed at. It all rips open wounds in our soul. But what if those ripped, torn places become the thin places to see through to heaven? What if the crushing becomes a place of communion? What if those marks remind us even if everyone we love walked away, He never would?
I may be scarred in this life but I will not be marred by it. Jesus was marred in love for me so my scars would only be reminders of His overcoming grace. In this story Calvary is always followed by death being left an empty tomb.
Scars remind us of where we have been, they don’t have to dictate where we are going. What’s behind us doesn’t have to define us when we let it refine us.
So I thank Him for my scars. I rejoice in the painful, stretching, even shattering seasons. I would not know Him like I do or be who I am without them. That perspective changes everything.
I do not believe God sends sickness or harm to us. Ever. But I do have a radical, fundamental belief in His ultimate power to redeem it all. Every loss that colors our world. Every pain that shades our experience. Every betrayal that casts shadows on our journey. Every time choosing Him, choosing love costs us a price few will ever understand, let alone see. He sees. He knows.
Suddenly that which has broken us becomes a place of beauty forged right in the fire of our struggle and we step in to the fellowship of His love-scars we could not have entered into any other way. There, every scar is precious. There, gold is spun from our scarred stories flung hard into the wide open arms of Grace. There, God never wastes our pain.
This week as we look toward the garden and the cross and watch the worshiping crowds become angry mobs… As we journey through communion and loss, betrayal and pain, resurrection hope and love-pierced hands and feet, let us remember together. Let us celebrate His scars that pour healing and purpose into our own.
Always, beloved. You are loved.
Where do you need to see Jesus this week?