Scars tell a story. My husband has a large scar on his left knee and when people see it their first question is, “How did you get that scar?!” He proceeds to tell them it was from a baby shark attack! We all know that’s not true… but, the point is, our scars tell a story.
This is true of physical scars but also emotional scars. Each of us journey through life with good and bad experiences. Sometimes our painful experiences can feel like they leave a scar and have ongoing effects in our lives. We cannot be void of pain and suffering; in fact, these are vital in the strengthening of our faith. However, the degree to which we invite Jesus into our pain is the degree to which he can bring healing.
Our painful experiences in life cannot be deleted, removed or forgotten. However, they can be transformed. Like a scar, the event that caused the scar remains, however the story behind the scar and its effect in our life can be transformed by the healing power of Jesus.
Our Jesus gives us the perfect example of this. When Jesus was crucified, he was nailed to the cross with nails piercing through his hands and feet. We know that through his incredible suffering he conquered the power of sin and death, and rose again, proving to be victorious. When Jesus appeared to the disciples as the resurrected Jesus, he still had the scars of the nails that went through his hands.
Yes, these scars represented the suffering that he endured but they were also a testimony to power of God and the victory he achieved.
People like Thomas saw these scars and acknowledged that Jesus was Lord.
I believe in the same way, Jesus wants to transform the story of our scars to become powerful testimonies that point to God’s healing power in our life. In order to step into this healing, we must invite Jesus into our pain. As we do, we are positioning our hearts to receive healing.
Henri Nouwen speaks beautifully of the person who invites Jesus into their pain, “He is able to create space for Him whose heart is greater than his, whose eyes see more than his, and whose hands can heal more than his.”
The Bible places a huge value on the condition of our hearts. We have to engage in regular “heart checks” with the Holy Spirit to ask him to show us what we are carrying. Why? Because the heart is the wellspring of life. If we allow toxins to pollute the spring, it will affect the whole flow of water in the stream. Or, as Luke puts it in chapter 7:45 of his gospel, “What you say flows from what is in your heart”. There is a relationship between what we carry in our hearts and how that affects our outward actions. Pain can never be fully suppressed as its place in our hearts means it will in turn have outward effects.
Jesus transforms our pain by giving us the Holy Spirit to lead us into truth. Into the truth of who we are in Christ, and of who he is in our life. When I have been hurt by people’s lack of faithfulness, God puts my feet on the solid ground of His faithfulness. When I have experienced anxiety or self-doubt from pain, God has led me to wide open spaces. When I have suffered the consequences of disobedience, Jesus has led me to his arms of grace. Each of these experiences have been transformed by the truth of who Jesus is and who I am in Him.
So, don’t be ashamed of your scars but rather let the Holy Spirit use these as testimonies to his goodness, and the transforming work of the Spirit in your life. Invite Jesus into your pain today.