Recently I noticed an old scar on the base of my left pinky finger, leading me to examine several similar scars on both hands. That, in turn, caused me to remember a multitude of other tiny scars on my wrists, my knees, my ankles, my toes, my elbows, and even my lip.
Most of the tiny scars happened when I was attacked by a small dog. I was three or four years old, maybe even younger. I have absolutely no recollection of that attack.
Family members say I was playing in a sandbox with two older cousins when a neighbor's small Feist was released to play outside. Instead, the dog (that had previously played sweetly with us) ran directly to me and attacked.
Perhaps I was sitting on its bathroom spot, or perhaps it smelled my own doggie's scent on me, or maybe it just did not recognize me. Who knows?!
Whatever the case – that little dog left me with dozens and dozens of terrible, tiny wounds. And each deep, deep puncture wound was inflicted on a pulse point. So, the dog was not playing around. It almost killed me.
After a long night in the ER and hundreds of stitches, I was alive - but scarred for life.
Now, granted, I do not remember one single thing from that night. (And that in itself is a miracle because I have vivid memories of much earlier incidents.) Despite the lack of a memory, the scars still remain.
My biggest scar was an intense fear.
I struggled with this terror of dogs for most of my childhood until my own son's love of all animals forced me to let go of my fears. God used my son and a countless number of coonhounds and bulldogs to heal that scar of fear, replacing it with an overwhelming love of dogs.
Yet, here I am more than 50 years later with a multitude of tiny scars all over my body. Most of those scars can only be found after a close examination.
Every now and then a nurse or doctor will notice the perfect, thin, flawlessly straight line running precisely in the middle of the philtrum, or the center part between my upper lip and nose. (Dr. Gore may have been a country doctor, but he had the skill and wisdom of a priceless plastic surgeon that night long ago.)
Still, I have so many scars!
But, then again, don't we all?
How many of us make it through life without scars of some kind?
Whether it's physical scars from some strange accident or emotional scars from the trials of life, the reality is that we are all marred and scarred. And we have the stories, the memories, the agonies, and the ecstasies that go with those scars. Yes, we are all scarred.
Some of those scars are easy to spot in the people around us. We can quickly see people’s scars from rejection and loss, sickness and disease, or worry and fear. Often times, we even understand how and when those scars were incurred, and we knowingly extend grace to those scarred individuals.
Other scars are not so easily detected. People often hide the pain, afraid of more rejection or loss. Our shame and thoughts of reproach keep us bound in worry and fear. And sometimes, words spoken long ago lie hidden, as we harbor bitterness and gall from those past hurts.
To top it off, through the social media technology at our fingertips, we view the scars people incur from crimes, accidents, natural disaster, and tragedies of every kind.
Our world is in a constant state of chaos, a continual marring and scarring, and we bear instantaneous witness to those scars.
Yes, we are all scarred, and so is our world. But there is an answer.
God made a way for the healing of those scars though, a path and plan for wholeness. The answer is Jesus.
In Isaiah 53:5, the Bible tells us that “He (Jesus) was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.”
Jesus was scarred so we do not have to be. The stripes on His back, the wound in His side, the thorn marks on His head, and the holes in His hands and feet will be eternal reminders of exactly how much He loves us.
Whatever we have endured, whatever we are dealing with, even at this moment, Jesus knows. He was truly touched with the feeling of our infirmities. He bore it all for us on the Cross, and He will bear the scars of our burden throughout eternity.
Yes, Jesus’s forever scars remind us that we are healed, regardless of the scars we have acquired. We are victorious through Christ. No earthly wounds or scars can destroy us. Even death cannot keep us down, because Jesus overcame death, hell, and the grave for us.
So every time I look at my scars, I am reminded of His. I look at my multitude of tiny wounds and know the truth: He traded His scars for mine.
And even though my physical scars remain, my heart is healed and my hope is firm. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus paid the price.
For you and for me, that means - no more scars.
Jesus, the Lion of Judah, has suffered them all.