I have a lot of scars and I've been adding to them recently. I have the requisite scar on my knee from when I fell off my bike in 7th grade. In fact, I have quite a few scars from biking– my elbows, wrist, legs. I have some scars from surgeries– most notably a huge scar across my belly from my twisted intestines surgery that I had before I was two years old (I could projectile vomit across the room!). I have some scars from spending my youth growing up at a dance studio– on the bottom of my chin; on my wrist, where glass entered in and nearly cut my tendon that operates my thumb. I have a few scars from cutting myself when I've been cooking at home. The most recent scar I have is on the back of my hand when I opened the oven door in the restaurant that I'm working at right now. The lesson: In restaurant kitchens, even the outside of oven doors get hot.
Most of my scars have taught me something. The biking ones have taught me to always wear a helmet; or not to go over a rock that large; or no matter how confident I get, I should not do whatever I did. Don't slide your hand down a glass mirror. Making sure the towel is completely dry when I grab something hot out of the oven.
The scars also tell stories. I can look at my arm where a scar is still barely visible and think back to when Michael, Steve and I were running around outside at the Kirk and a gate swung closed and cut my arm. I remember the great friendships that I had growing up and how I need to call those dudes. The scars on my wrist are from when I launched myself off the side of a mountain while biking on my sister's husband's bachelor party. I remember the whole weekend every time I look at my wrist and how my sister is now married to such a great guy.
But some scars aren't physical. Sometimes scars result from periods of our life. Unemployment can be a huge scar. Miscarriage would be another huge scar. A broken relationship; an F on a report card; a fight with a roommate; a difficult conversation with parents/friends/loved ones/siblings/the barista; the death of someone close; these are all scars.
Just like physical scars, these scars teach us lessons and tell our stories. However, it seems to me that God forms us most in our scars. We cry out for that relationship to be restored, for that job to come, for understanding at the loss of life, for wisdom on how to speak truth in love. Prayer seems to be heightened during these times. We learn more about ourselves, about others and most importantly about God. These scars form who God is making us to be. Scars are the evidence of growth and healing in our lives.
The scars are what Jesus shows to his disciples after the resurrection:
As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”
...and [he]said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. (Luke 24:36-39, 46, 47)
The scars of the crucifixion did not disappear after resurrection. They confirmed that Jesus died and rose again. They confirmed that Jesus bore for us the punishment of sin for our sake. Jesus' scars prove that our scars too will heal.