I can tell you the stories behind almost all of the scars, or at least I how I came to get them. Some are accidents, some are the result of poor and reckless choices, but there is one that saved my life. Starting at the base of my neck and extending nine inches towards my navel is the scar from my heart surgery. That scar is a constant reminder of the fragile nature of life and the gift that God gave me when He guided the surgeon's hands.
But I'm not taking your time today to talk about my heart surgery...I want to talk with you about what scars mean. So many of us try to cover up our scars, to remove the memories that they carry with them. We all share an aversion to pain, it's written in our genes. But without this massive scar in the middle of my chest I in all likelihood would be here today. The scar in the middle of my chest is no longer a reminder of the pain that I endured but a symbol of the life that it gave to me.
One of the most difficult things I have ever done was make a trip to the hospital after the death of a church member just months after my heart surgery. He was younger than and I dropped dead going up the steps to his home one evening. I struggled to perform his funeral service and I struggled to understand the "why" of my survival and his won passing. My own scar seemed to constantly haunt me with the what might have been. My soul hurts for him and his family even today.
But scars carry different meanings, come from different origins. Jesus bears scars. The gospels record for us that Jesus' resurrected body bore those scars. They are a testimony of the power of God's love. That love which willingly gave His life for each of us. Jesus is not afraid of those scars, he embraces them willingly, gladly. He took them into himself so that we might be redeemed. You might say that Jesus' scars display the truthfulness of his claims about himself. Who else but the Savior of the world would willingly receive the scars that proclaim our redemption.
What story do your scars tell about you? Do they draw you into a life of appreciation and thankfulness for the scars that Jesus bears for you? I have come to be thankful for this one particular scar and am learning to be grateful for all the rest. May they all remind me of the love that truly saved my life.