Points to Ponder: What Can I Do About These Scars?
Points to Ponder
What Can I Do About These Scars?
by Pastor Dennis Whitmore
Many years ago, I helped teach the Dale Carnegie Course. It involves a class of about 40 people in public speaking. Over time, as the class bonds, the talks become more personal and open. I observed after being involved with over 200 individuals during the terms of these courses, that inside just about everyone you meet there have deep-seated scars. The abuse, the tragedies, the major health problems, and terrible losses people have suffered are buried and well hidden to the glances of the general public. But if you get close enough to someone, you'll probably find they have scars from the past--some are still aching and influencing their lives.
In his book, "Look Out, World," Jamie Buckingham shares the account of Jerry Cook. While pastoring a large church in Oregon he suffered a heart attack and underwent open-heart surgery.
A man visited Rev. Cook after he recovered. The man himself was facing bypass surgery and he was scared. He asked Rev. Cook if he could see his scars. Jerry Cook removed his shirt. The man ran his finger down along the vertical purple scar. Since the bypass vein is taken from the calf, and this is said to be the most painful aspect of the procedure, Cook rolled up his pant legs. The man knelt and carefully traced the scar lines, touching them with his finger. When he stood up, he had tears in his eyes. The man told Rev. Cook, "Thank you. Now I have hope."
Perhaps you are reminded of your own scars. Some are not visible lines you can trace with a finger. There are all kinds of tragic experiences and types of abuse one can endure without ever showing a scar. But they are there and they affect you. What can you do?
Like Jerry Cook, you will have your scars, always. But allowing others to touch them and to find a sense of empathy from you as they face their own struggles, this is the redeeming quality of scars.
When Jesus appeared after His resurrection, He still had the scars in His hands, feet and side. It's helpful to know that God became a man so that He could "sympathize with our own weaknesses," and go through trials and temptations just as we do (Hebrew 4:15). He still bears the scars so that you can trace them and know that God understands your pain.
What happens to us is not as important as what we do with what happens to us. In Hebrews 12:12-13, we are reminded to use our experiences to strengthen ourselves so that we will be able to strengthen others who may be walking the same way we have come.
There is nothing that can happen that Jesus Christ can't redeem and use for a greater good. It's not easy, but it is possible. "For He Himself has said, 'I will never leave you or forsake you.'" (Hebrews 13:5)
This column can be found on the web at: www.fumcl.org. Pastor Whitmore is not affiliated with Picket News, nor does he submit material directly to our publication. We regularly reprint interesting articles found at his public web site and encourage all readers to visit for similar material.