In the first installment of this trilogy, I (Monica) shared about my traumatic episode of having a flying branch whip me in the eye and face, leaving me with a permanent scar. Now, I’d like to share with you about my husband’s varied personal experiences with scars.
My husband is approaching seventy. In his lifetime, he has acquired many different physical, as well as emotional scars. He has worn them admirably. Having grown up with an alcoholic dad, having served in Vietnam and also losing some high school classmates in that conflict, he has known suffering and could have allowed these things to alter the trajectory of his life.
When he was twenty-five, he suffered major injuries, as he was hit by a drunk driver, while trying to help his friend push his disabled car to the side of the road. In this severe accident, he broke his back, shattered his elbow, had an exhaust pipe go through his knee, and lost so much blood,
the hospital had pronounced him dead.
Fortunately another doctor checked his pulse to be certain and detected a faint pulse. They were able to treat his injuries over time, but not without an enormous amount of pain, adjustment to limitations of steel plates and pins, casts, a wheelchair, and the possibility of never being able to compete again.
It took him many months of rehabilitation, patience and perseverance before he could ever begin to resume a somewhat normal life. The doctors told him he would never be able to walk again without a limp. At the time of the accident my husband was a runner. By the time I met him, he was getting into the sport of competitive bike racing. To look at all his many scars, you’d never believe someone could have survived so much, much less be successful in any sport. But by God’s grace and my husband’s determination and discipline, Gerry has not only competed but also achieved great victories—winning numerous races and increasing his personal bests.
Several years ago, after some minor crashes and one major one (resulting in a broken collarbone), he suffered another major accident. While on a training ride, he developed a high-speed wobble in his front wheel, down a steep incline, going 40 mph. His wheel shimmied to where he couldn’t control the bike. He ended up with five broken ribs, a broken collarbone and a broken shoulder-blade. The next summer (a year later), he was hit by a car also while on a training ride. This time, in addition to more broken ribs and the same collarbone broken, he also suffered a mild concussion.
His attitude throughout it all was exemplary and inspiring. He never once hesitated to give God the glory for preserving his life and for helping him heal. He also would share how God protected him. People who don’t believe in God would be taken back by this statement. “How did God protect you, if you were so seriously injured?” they’d ask. He would tell them it could’ve been much worse.
It can always be worse.
He feels blessed that, after all his body has endured over the years, he can continue to function normally, is healthier than many people his age who have never had any kind of major trauma to their body and he is still able to enjoy bike racing.
He could have chosen to give up. He could have given into self-pity. But because he knows the One who is the Healer, Life-giver and most importantly, Redeemer, he is able to see these events as opportunities to praise God and point others to Him.
When I look at his numerous scars I don’t see a disfigured man. Instead, I see precious reminders that God spared his life those many years ago so that he could go on to know, love and serve Jesus, and also so I could come to know him and share my life with him.
Wounds may heal but scars last.
Until we are called to our eternal home where we will have a new, perfect, glorified body, we will continue to bear our scars in this life. However, the One who was without sin, yet bore our sin, will forever wear the scars of his excruciating death on the cross, the death he willingly suffered so we might have eternal life with Him.
Stay tuned for the last part of this trilogy, which speaks to our emotional scars.
“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 Corinthians 12:10