This is the last of a trilogy of posts written by my mom, Monica Burney.
Wounds can cut deep, especially when people who are close to us inflict them upon us. Hurtful words. Rejection. Broken promises. Abuse. All of us bear scars from our past. That’s reality in a broken world. I remember when I was going through a particularly painful time in my life, a dear friend and mentor said to me: “Right now, it feels like the weight of a basketball on your heart. But, in time, by God’s grace, it will shrink down to a caraway seed. It will always be there grating on your heart, just a bit, but it will serve as a reminder of lessons learned and how God’s grace brought you through it all.”
He was right.
Time helps heal wounds, but it can’t erase them.
Only God can heal through His redeeming love and by the Spirit’s transforming power to renew our minds. Even though scar tissue remains, and sometimes the wounds are even re-opened and become painful, once again, God is in the business of allowing these hurts, to facilitate changed hearts that reflect His extravagant love.
As Jesus walked the earth, he suffered undeserved rejection, humiliation, betrayal, beatings, death on a cross and perhaps most of all, in taking our sins upon Himself, He endured the agonizing pain of a period of separation from His Father. His pain was unimaginable. We will never have to suffer as He did. And He did it without complaint or self-pity, and without any malice in his heart.
Yet, at times, our own pain seems unrelenting and unbearable. Our natural response can run swiftly towards anger, sulking, bitterness, and unforgiveness. Stubbornly, we can put up walls around our hearts, trying to guard ourselves from further pain. However, walls don’t breed trust.
Without trust, it’s impossible to truly love.
And without love, this life would be meaningless.
Our scars from these painful moments in our lives can seem as cruel reminders, if we continue to hold onto grudges and nurse our hurts. But God would have us to see them as He does: an opportunity for us to grab hold of His gifts of grace and mercy. To receive them and to give them as often as they are needed.
One day, all our earthly scars will be gone and the things of this life will disappear into the light of eternity. But until then, we have only to look to the beautiful scars of the One who bore them so well, to remind us of the value and beauty in our own.
“By his wounds we are healed.” -Isaiah 53:5