If you walk among the aspens, you’ll notice their scarred trunks. Many of the roundish blemishes are from branches that have fallen off, a natural part of the tree’s growth. Others, though, are more rugged. These irregularly shaped scars are usually the result of elk having chewed on the bark. Over time the wounds heal, but the scars remain as a testament of survival.
We all have scars. They are evidence of our past, and they make us unique. Our scars usually result from trauma – physical or emotional. For some it was abuse or neglect in childhood. Others of us carry scars from broken relationships, losses, accidents, illnesses, or threats. Many older people, looking back on their lives, acknowledge the pains they have endured, and still end up saying, “I wouldn’t change anything.” Why? Because they know they wouldn’t be the people they became over time without the events that sometimes wounded them.
We don’t have to be ashamed of our scars. They record our histories, they give evidence of our ability to survive, to heal. And they allow us to connect with those who recognize those scars as theirs, too.
Jesus was raised from the dead after a brutal crucifixion. He could have had any resurrection body he wanted, but he chose to keep his scars. They verified his identity to doubting disciples, and they still give evidence of his triumphant sacrifice for humankind.
Every scar we have represents pain that, by God’s grace, made us stronger, better, more like Christ. He didn’t hide his scars. We shouldn’t either.
Suffering is arguably God’s choicest tool in shaping the character of Christ in us. – Joni Eareckson Tada