Written by: Stacy Lowe
Then Joshua said to the Israelites, “In the future your children will ask, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them, ‘This is where the Israelites crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the river right before your eyes, and he kept it dry until you were all across, just as he did at the Red Sea when he dried it up until we had all crossed over. He did this so all the nations of the earth might know that the Lord’s hand is powerful, and so you might fear the Lord your God forever.” ~ Joshua 4:21-24
Under my chin is a tiny bump of a scar. Every time my fingers dance across it, I’m 12 years old again and flying across the skating rink floor. As I head down the straightaway, the skater next to me begins to lose her balance. She grabs onto me for support, but ends up pulling us both to the floor instead. I land. Painfully. Crawling back to my feet, I touch the bottom of my now throbbing chin which took the impact of my fall. I pull my hand away and find blood there. Stunned, I skate off into the bathroom to further assess the damage.
Though that day is long past, it is forever etched in my memory and brought to mind every so often due to the mark it left behind.
Scars are good like that. They serve a purpose. They are a roadmap to our past and remind us of who we used to be.
Although scars aren’t mentioned in the Bible, the importance of remembering certainly is!
Several times throughout the Old Testament, God commanded His children to erect an altar so they would remember what He had done for them. These instructions followed some of His most miraculous rescues of His people out of desperate situations. By building these memorials, they would have a visual reminder of the day God showed up and did what only He could do.
Just like those structures of old, our scars, too, tell a story! Although they may not all be visible, we know they’re there. They come about when something shattered inside of us has found healing. Every so often, something in life will bump up against that scar and remind us of who and where we used to be. More importantly, though, it will remind us we’re not in that place anymore. And just like the Old Testament altars, they are meant to be shared with others so that God’s glory may be put on display to the world around us.
2 Corinthians 1:4 (MSG) says this: “He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.”
Where you have a scar, someone else has an open wound and is desperate for hope. What a powerful moment it is to come alongside that person and say, “Me, too. I’ve been there and look at what God did for ME. He will do the same for you, too!”
So don’t hide your scars and don’t be selfish with them! They are there for a reason. Allow them to be your own modern day version of an Old Testament altar- proof that thanks to God’s grace and glory, you, too, are a survivor!
Thank you, God, for the gift of scars!