Do you have any scars on your body? Perhaps from a burn or a cut. Mishap with the knife in the kitchen. Run-in with the hot exhaust pipe on the four-wheeler. Or possibly more devastating. Significant car accident. Accidental shooting. Or worse.
Scars, as we know, are the areas of fibrous tissue that replace normal skin after injury. They result from the biological process of wound repair in the skin and other tissues of the body. Sometimes the wounds to be repaired are small, as in the scarred fingertip resulting from the burn of a hot pan against the flesh. Some wounds, however, penetrate much deeper. A laceration that requires stitches. A dismemberment that necessitates a major surgery.
But what about the internal scars? We have those too, don’t we? The ones that aren’t visible to the human eye. The grief from losing a loved one. The heartache stemming from an unfaithful spouse. The agony caused by a wayward child. The regret from making bad decisions. The list could go on. And on. And on.
I have some scars on my body, most of which are small, insignificant and unnoticeable. I do have one on my forehead right between my eyes. It too is small; no larger than an inch. Most days I don’t even see it or think about it, except on those rare occasions when someone else spots it and asks me about it. I do recall how it happened though. As a second-grader riding my bicycle on the sidewalk I encountered gravel, which caused me to lose control of the bicycle and tumble to the hard concrete, head-first.
Not unlike most of us, I have internal scars as well. And, there was a time in my life when I allowed those scars to control, at least on some level, my emotions, my feelings, and sometimes my decisions. In short, I allowed the past wounds to remain open.
Isaiah tell us in Chapter 61, verse 1 that Jesus came to bind up the brokenhearted. He came to set us free. He came to heal our wounds. And more! He came to give us beauty for ashes, as described in verse 3 of the same chapter. Beauty for ashes. Hope for heartache. Healing for hurt. Peace for pain. Glory (His) for grief.
Do you have scars? From physical or sexual abuse? Volunteer at a local domestic violence shelter. From the loss of a loved one? Come alongside someone else with the same hurt to encourage them. From a marriage gone bad? Start a small group gathering in your home. God has allowed the wounds in our lives for reasons that are mostly beyond our comprehension. But if we trust Him, He will take the nasty, black, sooty ashes of our pain and turn them into exquisite, beautiful stories of redemption and hope to bring Him glory. He has done it in my life and I know that He will do it in yours, too!