Warriors are proud of their scars. They love to tell the stories of each of the battles the scars represent: “This one was when we were surrounded and I fought my way through; my arm was half-off, but I made it! Oh, this one here? That was when it looked like all hope was lost, but we rallied and won.” Scars tell a story of battle and victory.
The Bible tells us we are in a spiritual battle all the time, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12 The strange thing though, is that we as followers of Christ are not proud of our scars. We try to hide or minimize them. Really they are marks that we have overcome by the power of Jesus and have lived to tell about it!
What a testimony to the saving grace of Jesus it would be if we were to say things such as, “Yes, I am an addict, but by God’s might I am 214 days sober!” Or, “I was abandoned, but every single day God is there with me telling me He will never leave me.” In essence, just like the military warrior we could use our scars to tell stories of victory!
I think we see our scars as ugly, painful and useless. We can also get a mistaken idea that when we become followers of Jesus that those scars should just disappear. One day that will be true, when we get to heaven our scars will be gone. However, here on Earth they are still very much of use. For ourselves the marks we carry can be reminders to not go back to behaviors etc. that caused our hurt in the first place. For others we meet who are in similar battles to what we have gone through, our scars can be encouragement that we made it through and are still alive to tell the story.
Oddly enough we grow the most in battle–if we are willing. I also recently learned that scar tissue is stronger than regular skin. Putting those two facts together, the more battles we go through, the stronger we become. I am still not to a place where I can welcome a battle, however I am working on not hiding my scars, but seeing them as an opportunity to share stories of God’s wonderful deliverance with others.
“For I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.” Galatians 6:17b