I was having a conversation with a friend a while ago. It was not a particularly unique day…just an ordinary autumn morning – crisp but not cold, damp but not soggy. The kind of morning when you can feel winter’s chill just around the corner but summer is still holding on for every last ray of sunshine.
Before too long, as sometimes happens between good friends, we began sharing things in a bit more personal way. We were talking about injuries and hurts we have had and then began to compare some of the scars that went with them. I showed him the scar on my right heel that is now callused over…I stepped on some broken glass when I was 5 which shattered inside and infected the bone in my heel. I showed him how my right thumb nail is kind of split from the time that I smashed it in the car door. I showed him the thin line from just behind my right ear down under my jaw. This is where I had some glands removed for testing. I then showed him the 12 inch scar stretching from the left side of my spine to just about the middle of my left side. This was the most difficult story to tell…I had half of my left lung removed about 15 years ago due to a rare form of lung cancer. I explained to him that these are signs to me of healing…after all, scars do show were we’ve been healed, right? I don’t look at them as blemishes or ugly things but as markers and memories of where I’ve been healed.
Then he began to share some of his stories and show some of his scars. There was one behind his left ear where a bully on the bus had hit him. There was another on the back of his head, a small round patch where his dad had once pulled his hair a little too hard and some of it came out and never grew back. He also had a severely deformed left bicep muscle – all twisted and pock marked and thick skinned. He shared how when he was young he had been learning how to back up a tractor. His foot slipped as he was turning to look behind. He fell off and the giant tractor tire rolled over his arm, just missing his head.
He spoke of a few others as I began to wonder…how he and I have such similar stories? Many of the things that he was sharing I had experienced as well – but I didn’t have the scars. At one point I interrupted him and commented on how strange it was that we went through so many of the same things. He looked at me with a kind of questioning glance out of the corner of his eye. The corner of his mouth raised just a bit as his eyes squinted and then he turned and looked me straight in the eye and said, “Just as your scars show where you’ve been healed….my scars show where you’ve been healed too.”
I sat there engulfed in the sudden realization of who my friend was and what He went through…for me. As I sat there in wonder he lifted his shirt and showed me his side…and then showed me his hands…and also pulled back some of his hair revealing a ring of scars. I could not help but notice as He was going through these motions that there were some band aids and bandages still covering parts of his skin. I asked him why they were there and He looked at me with a piercing yet patient gaze and said, “Those wounds haven’t quite healed yet…I’m still waiting for you to let go.”
“He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities…and by his stripes we are healed”