I am the Lord who heals you [Exodus 15:26].
Pain is usually an unforgettable teacher. The lessons I’ve learned best in life have normally been associated with pain. Touch a hot stove and you learn (or should learn!) not to do that again.
In 2019, I had two separate surgeries. I’ve lived with pain since late 2018 and am still experiencing it with ongoing physical therapy. Through it all, I can attest that healing occurs but the body is never the same. Skilled surgeons simply cannot put the human body back together like God. And the scars remain.
During one of my excruciating physical therapy sessions, I wished I could pass that “joy” on to someone else. However, my painful protocol won’t or can’t work for anyone else. It was designed specifically for my healing process. Nor would someone else’s seemingly less painful regimen work for me. My pain, my gain.
The Divine Purpose of Pain
God sovereignly orchestrates “pain” to bring healing to what is broken or wounded. Often, it is God’s way of refocusing our attention away from everything else and onto Him. “He gets their attention through adversity” [Job 36:15, NLT]. God’s loving discipline can be painful, yet He designs it for our good [Hebrews 12:11]. “There is no God besides Me…I wound and I heal” [Deuteronomy 32:39]. “The punishment you gave me was the best thing that could have happened to me, for it taught me to pay attention to your laws” [Psalm 119:71, TLB].
God also uses the scars of life as part of our stories and identities. After Jacob’s wrestling match with God, he walked with a lifelong limp [Genesis 32:22-31]. Though healed from leprosy, Scripture still refers to Simon the leper [Mark 14:3]. Scripture associates Mary Magdalene with her exorcism [Luke 8:2]. Although King David repented, was forgiven, and recognized as a man after God’s heart, we still read “except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite” [1 Kings 15:5].
Scars are Part of Personal Identity
Even Jesus referred to His wounds when confirming His identity to His disciples. “Why do doubts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself” [Luke 24:38-39]. The book of Revelation identifies Him in heaven as “a Lamb as though it had been slain” [Revelation 5:6]. His scars stand as eternal witnesses of His sacrificial, atoning death. When Christ returns, the nation of Israel will “look on Me whom they pierced” [Zechariah 12:10].
See, past mistakes, wounds, and scars are an element of personal identity – part of the lifelong journey. God may heal, yet He uses our scars as reminders and memorials. When placed in His loving hands, they can become part of His purposes in our lives. IF we allow Him, and IF we surrender them all to Him, God sovereignly orchestrates it all for our good and His glory.
Please understand, past wounds and present scars do not define us. But in God’s hands, they can refine us. They can be testaments of His healing touch, mercy, and grace and encourage others with whom we come in contact. Don’t tout them or be ashamed of them. Entrust them to God to work all things together for His good [Romans 8:28]. Accept them as part of the overall transformation into Christlikeness [Romans 8:29].
Thank God for the healing; glorify Him with the scars.