Health and beauty are the hallmarks of our culture. Flawless (and ageless) skin, scars & wounds that are required to heal without detection. External perfection. These are all stamp of the world’s preoccupation with the body. And why not? The world knows nothing other than that which is external – that which can be measured.
God’s blessings in our scars & wounds.
And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Cor 12:9-10
Every one of us has some scar or wound in our lives. They might be in our bodies, they might be in our souls, but they are there. Very often we allow them to define us. I’m as guilty as the next person of this.
- I am bald
- I am short
- I am overweight
Of course my simply refusing to say these things don’t make they any less true. The truth of the matter is that I DON’T have hair; I AM under 5 feet tall; I DO push the charts past the overweight category. But I have learned in these past 40 years of following Jesus that these facts are simply external things. They don’t define who I am INSIDE; the real me is the spiritual woman deep within. The bible calls this the “new man”, even though I’m a woman. 😀
The new me (or not so new anymore) is the gal who was created new at my conversion, when I first began to follow Jesus. This is who I am in the spiritual realm. She is the real me. The external me is just the shell I’m living in.
Made in the image of God: spirit, soul & body.
Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. Gen 2:7
Over the ages man has gone from one pendulum swing to the other. Sometimes we’ve rejected the body as not being part of God’s holy design. This meant thinking that only the spiritual part of our lives mattered. Other times we’ve relegated the things of the soul to the outer darkness, so to speak, as if our personality, mind or will were abhorrent to God’s design.
But since we ARE made in the image of God, and God created us body, soul and spirit, it is hard to come up with a truth that says one part of this conglomeration called Kate is good and one part is bad. It is all part of who I am, who God has designed me to be and who God is transforming me into. All parts of me are experiencing the redemptive work of the cross!
My spirit experienced complete birth and redemption at my point of justification.
My soul is experiencing continued re-birth and redemption during this lifelong process of sanctification.
My body will experience full new birth and redemption at my glorification in heaven.
All parts of me are called to live in the fullness of surrender to Jesus. Therefore all parts of me are precious to God.
He places His mark on me.
Over the course of my life, life happens. I make mistakes, I’m hurt, I hurt others, I struggle with depression. I break body parts, I have surgeries, I lose my hair, I lose a limb.
Any of these things can be seen as irritations or even deformities. I’m coming, more and more, to see these in a different light. Let’s look at a biblical example.
When he saw that he had not prevailed against him, he touched the socket of his thigh; so the socket of Jacob’s thigh was dislocated while he wrestled with him. Now the sun rose upon him just as he crossed over Penuel, and he was limping on his thigh. Therefore, to this day the sons of Israel do not eat the sinew of the hip which is on the socket of the thigh, because he touched the socket of Jacob’s thigh in the sinew of the hip.Gen. 32:25, 31-32
This part of Jacob’s life was a pivotal point. He was renamed to establish his new identity. Yet, in that moment in time, God did something else that was spectacular. He placed His mark of ownership on Jacob. From that point on, he walked with a limp. But this is even more remarkable. The entire nation of Israel from this point on saw this as the hand of God touching Jacob/Israel. That spot where God touched him became holy. It was the symbol of belonging to God. And they never ate from that part of an animal out of regard for God’s touch on Jacob’s body.
Can you recognize and rejoice in His mark on you?
From now on let no one cause trouble for me, for I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus. Gal 6:17
I’m sure there were times in the many years that followed where Jacob was less than thrilled about his lameness. But it was left as a constant reminder of the hand of God on his body – and his entire life.
Now, let’s examine our own lives. What scars & wounds do you carry? Do you look at those grey hairs as a crowning glory of years of walking with God? Do you see those stretch marks as the blessing of babies (either here or that you’ll be reunited with in Glory)? Do you see those chemo scars as symbols of the depth of God’s transforming work in your life? Do you see those wounds when you were violently injured as symbols of the healing God has brought you through?
Maybe your scars aren’t seen. Maybe they are wounds to your mind or to your personality. Maybe they are things no one can see and that you detest because you feel less than normal. How does God desire to make these scars & wounds a symbol of His ownership of your life? I know He does. I know He wants to transform this pain into His fuller redemption of your life. Are you willing to let Him work with you in this way? Are you willing to surrender, even your pain, to His transforming work of grace and love?
Let His severe mercy and long suffering heart bring His badge of ownership to every scar & wound in your live.