Scars: Signs of Pain, Signs of Healing

I recently had surgery to remove a small lump from my chin.  At first I thought it was a zit, then I realized it wasn’t and thought it would go away on it’s own.

I was sitting among a group of friends on Sunday after church, and we decided to spend some time sharing the needs in our life and praying for each other.  One man shared that ha friend at work had a lump on her neck and he told her that she should get it checked out with a doctor.

She did.  Two weeks later she died.

So I decided to call the doctor on Monday.  The doctor thought it was fine.  I called a dermatologist, just to be sure.

What was a “small lump” ended up being the size of a quarter and the incision took four stitches to heal.  So I have a scar on my beardline right now – I’m trying some scar cream to see if it actually reduces the scar.

I rub Mederma on the incision three times a day.  I wonder if it actually works.  But each time I rub it on, I think about other scars in my life – not just where my body has been stitched up, but where I have scars in my heart, soul, and mind.

Is there a cream that reduces those scars, too?

I’ve always loved Jesus’ disciple Thomas in John’s gospel – often known as “doubting Thomas.”  I’ve struggled with faith and doubt throughout my life – it’s not a secret to those who know me well.  Thomas has been a companion in my doubt.  And I don’t think his doubt was primarily intellectual – it was because he was disappointed and let down.  He was ready to go with Jesus to die with him.  His doubt would only be subsided when he put his hands in the holes in Jesus’ hand and side to feel hope once again embodied as really real.

Which to me begs an interesting question: why did Jesus have holes in his hands and side?  Was his new body complete with…scars?

Maybe Jesus’ resurrected body wasn’t airbrushed like the models on the checkout line as I pick up my groceries.

Maybe the scars meant something more than just physical manifestations of the healing process.

Maybe the pain he went through wasn’t meant to be overlooked or glossed over, but a the scars were a validation of the healing of wounds so deep that the pain is not forgotten, but healed.

Scars serve of memories of wounds, but they also remind us that we are able to be healed.  Perhaps the mark of a follower of Jesus shouldn’t be that they are an airbrushed model (like so many Christians are perceived) but one who has the marks of healing in their life.

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December 2008

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