What The Scars Tell Us

Bible Book: Galatians  6 : 17
Subject: Cross; Scars; Faithfulness

Sometime ago, the Christian world lost yet another spiritual giant. W.A. Criswell pastored and served the First Baptist Church of Dallas for more than 50 years. I was only privileged to meet him once.

What I recall seeing as I looked into his eyes was much like what I could have envisioned seeing in the rugged, leather-skinned, courageous face of Elijah. During the 1960's and 1970's when the Southern Baptist Convention stood at odds over the integrity of God's Word, he dared to stand even if it meant standing alone for God. Some loved him, while others hated him. There was no middle ground with him. In fact, middle ground only meant compromise to him. He was a warrior. Yet, as is the case with most warriors, the battles never come without a few scars. Scars are what made him who he was, scars are what earned him respect, and scars were the first thing I'm sure he presented to Jesus.

As Paul was writing to the church at Galatia, he said these words in 6:17, "..for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." To him, the scars from scourgings and other physical sufferings not only identified him with Jesus, but like cattle who are branded, it also proved he was under the ownership of Jesus.

I find it interesting that down through the centuries the men and women God has gotten the greatest mileage out of are men and women who have been scarred. D.L. Moody once said, "Anyone who was ever greatly used of God, was first hurt by God."

Scars seem to have a language that is discerned by God alone. He bottles our tears, He records our words, but scars garner the attention of the Father like nothing else in our life. Just who will be the ones God sets aside for great tasks tomorrow? It will be those whose hearts have been seasoned, whose minds have been tempered, and whose life has been scarred by the hand of God today. Here are a few thoughts as to what our scars speak to God.

I. Scars Suggest That We’ve Been Active

No one who sits in ivory towers or rests on chairs of indifference is likely to ever experience scars. Scars represent the fact we have been battle tested. That does not mean "been there, done that," as much as it means you have proven your worth and wear. You can describe the battle field and demonstrate the weapons, but until you have smelled the smoke of live fire and sensed the horrors of warfare, the eyes of God will skim over your head in the crowd. While it is true that winners never quit, it is equally true that quitters are never scarred.

II. Scars Suggest That We’ve Been Altered

In Genesis 32, Jacob wrestled with an angel who "scarred" his thigh and never walked the same again. I long for a touch from God so altering, that I will never walk the same again.

During the scarring process, we often fail to realize it simply means we have been in the hands of the Lord. Is there a safer place on earth?

Like clay on the wheel, it is the touch of the potter's fingers. Like metal in the fire, it is the glance of refiner's eyes.

Like limbs that have been trimmed, it is the tender care of the vinedresser's skill. Never the same again, but never desiring to be either.

III. Scars Suggest That We’ve Been Anointed

We are told of Jesus that "..with His stripes we are healed."

One might wonder, how in the world can we be ripped apart at the seams, and yet be strengthened in the process? Well, consider this: the power displayed through the life of Jesus prior to the cross was nothing in comparison to the resurrection power displayed after the cross.

It is the crushing of our alabaster box, releasing the fragrance of His presence and power. It is the breaking of our pitchers, exposing an unseen light within.

Scars are the remnant of a special day when God anointed our life for tasks that still lie ahead.

Fair skinned warriors are only good for commercials and parading in beauty pageants. God's scars do not come from the limelight of pulpits nor the fame of our own name. They come in Gethsemane moments...alone with the Father.

No one relishes the thought of pain that would leave scars. We are programmed to protect ourselves from such harm. However, one thing is certain: only those who have been scarred have earned the right to be trusted. As the eyes of God search the universe, upon whom will He find His scars?