We all carry them, even landscapes - scars. Sometimes they are exposed and we try to hide them. Sometimes they cannot be hidden. Sometimes they are hidden from plain view but they can be detected if you look carefully. Every scar has a cause from injury that was either intended or unintended and has made a lasting impact - only time will tell if it was for better or worse. Apart from the more obvious visual physical scars, there are often internal scars due to the behaviour of others, our own personal choices or from apparently random events. Although these may be unseen, they are nonetheless real and can be perceived in a person’s changed behaviour, confidence and even faith. Do you carry either visible or invisible scars? Have you caused scars in others? The walkers in this coastal path have mainly been oblivious to the scars that their feet have been making in the landscape as they have enjoyed the walk - is it possible that you have done the same?
- ‘I am a human being, with feelings and emotions and scars and flaws, just like anyone else’ - Josh Gordon
- ‘Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars’ - Khalil Gibran
- ‘You don't learn from successes; you don't learn from awards; you don't learn from celebrity; you only learn from wounds and scars and mistakes and failures’ - Jane Fonda
- ‘The scars on the face have always given me a sense that I'm not a very attractive person. I'm always unsure of myself, of my facial self’ - Trudie Styler
It may not surprise you to learn that the USA had the largest number of cosmetic procedures in 2018 but, perhaps surprisingly, this was followed by Brazil and Mexico. It was Brazil that had the highest number per capita with 715 per 100,000 people. Catherine Zeta-Jones and Harrison Ford are among celebrities who carry visible scars. Catherine’s came from a tracheotomy as a child but she doesn’t want to hide it saying, "I wouldn't be here today if I didn't have this scar”! Harrison’s was not from a whip as some have speculated but it was reported that it happened when he lost control of his car whilst putting his safety belt on. Many heroes from the two World Wars were left with scars and disabilities. In particular, World War One left soldiers with dreadful disfiguring scars which gave Harold Gillies, a New Zealand surgeon who had trained in England, an opening to popularise plastic surgery to transform their lives. The greatest living hero of all time still bears unrivalled scars that are known to millions but his suffering is understood by few.
- ‘…one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water’ - John 19:34
- ‘Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all peoples on earth will mourn because of him’ - Revelation 1: 7
- ‘But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him and by his wounds we are healed’ - Isaiah 53:5
- ‘But Thomas said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” A week later his disciples were in the house again and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed”’ - John 20:25-29
Is it not remarkable that Jesus Christ is not only unique among those raised from the dead but that he also retains the scars in his hands and feet from crucifixion? Have you pondered why this might be? Could it be because his sacrifice for sin is an eternally valid deed and was given in a body that was both human and divine? These scars will be a reminder for ever of God’s forgiveness to those who trust in his son’s vicarious work. In his priestly role, he bridged the gap that was too big for us by giving his own body as our substitute that we might be free from the power of sin and death. In a strange world where some choose to injure themselves to ease their pain and others suffer untold physical, emotional and sexual abuse, we can be very thankful for the immense and lasting significance of the scars of Jesus our Saviour. The Divine Exchange is amazing - Jesus takes our pain and punishment, we share in his resurrection but are given a new body with no scars as all our wounds are healed. Think on these things next time you see a scar in the landscape, look at your own scars or notice those of others evident through their behaviour. Walk gently through the world as you travel with them that they might see his work in you and find hope for themselves.
TAGS – counselling, comfort, peace, restoration, healing