There’s this long scar on my foot that refuses to go away. I’ve had it since I was 9. You won’t believe me, but I was bitten by a black widow spider. Yes, seriously. Trust me when I say you don’t want to know the details.
I have another one on my right knee. It’s more noticeable. Recently a sweet friend asked me about it. Slip-n-slides and rocks don’t mix, I told him. (But don’t ever let that stop you from going on a slip-n-slide if the opportunity presents itself.)
There’s another small one on my lip from a car accident a few years ago. I bite my lip when I get nervous, so I think about that accident pretty frequently.
Some of the scars healed quickly; the one on my foot took no time at all. Unless you know it’s there, most people don’t notice it. Others took more time than I would have liked. The one on my knee required cleaning every day for a few weeks. I had to be careful when I played outside which majorly cramped my style. For the cut to properly heal, though, that’s what had to be done.
Now the one on my lip, that was a different story. It hurt the most, it was the most visible, and it threw my daily routine out of whack for much longer than I was prepared to spend on its healing.
That cut ruled my life for a while. It hurt to eat, it hurt when I spoke, and anytime someone saw me who didn’t know the story behind how I got it, they asked me about it. In various conversations weeks after I had the accident, I’d see people’s eyes shift from my own to that dumb cut. It felt like that’s all people could see. Plus I kept busting it open because I wouldn’t stop eating granola. Needless to say, the healing process took a lot of time.
I’m pretty accident prone, so I’ve gotten other scrapes and bruises since the one on my lip. Some healed with a little Neosporin and a Band-Aid; others cut deeper. Not even stitches would do the trick. It didn’t matter how passionately I pleaded with God to hurry up and heal me; the healing process had to run its course. The more I tried to hurry God, the wider I busted open the wound. It was frustrating at first, but recently it started to make sense.
Some wounds are too big for anyone but God to heal. According to all reason, we should be completely broken, with little chance of coming back strong. If we survive a seemingly fatal injury, it is suddenly undeniable that God stepped in. Then, there’s a chance that more than one person will be healed as a result. The bystander who saw the near fatal wound will witness an amazing recovery that makes no sense apart from God. Sure, the recovery process for the injured party will still be long and painful. Sure, there will be times that it’s frustrating and hurts all day long. But if one other person gets a glimpse of the ultimate Healer in action, bring on the pain.
God is currently nursing a wound of mine. The initial sting has lessened, but some days the ache manages to creep in. I know this one is going to leave a scar. Something is funny about this healing process, though. With previous injuries, I’ve begged God to speed up my recovery. Not this time. Because with a cut like this, I’ve been more dependent on God for restoration than ever. When the hurt makes it hard to breathe, you very quickly learn to cling to the One who’s healing you. That’s an intimacy I wouldn’t trade for anything, and I don’t think I would have realized it without the pain.
“ ‘Your wound is incurable, your injury beyond healing. There is no one to plead your cause, no remedy for your sore, no healing for you… But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,’ declares the Lord.” –Jeremiah 30:12-17
Today when I look in the mirror I see the faint outline of 1 or 2 scars. They’ll probably always be there, visible for all to see. I don’t mind though. Because truthfully, it’s not the story behind how I got the scar that’s interesting. It’s the story of who heals the scars that are worth your while.