Thursday, January 3, 2019

Scars and Goals

While looking through my files the other day, I came across something my husband, Bob, wrote 20 years ago. It was a beautiful, warm Wednesday in July, and he had taken a chair outside to sit under a tree near one corner of the building that housed the  church we pastored. As he meditated on the Scriptures, his eyes were drawn to the field full of a variety of wildflowers with a very large, symmetrical tree in the center.
April Fools Blizzard of 1997 Courtesy Google.com

His thoughts turned to the tree he was sitting under. Two years previously, it had been severely damaged in the April Fool's Blizzard of 1997. The snow was so wet and heavy that many power lines and trees throughout the Northeast U.S. had come down. Power companies from as far away as Virginia had come to help restore power. In fact, because of roads closed by the storm, my bivocational husband had been stranded for nearly of two days at the Christian radio station where he worked.

A major branch of the tree he was now sitting under had been torn off during that storm, leaving a gaping wound that went clear to the heart of its trunk. When the damaged part was removed, a third of the tree was gone.

Amazingly, when spring came that year, the tree flowered, but the raw wound was still obvious. Two years later, however, my husband would never have known that the tree had suffered such damage if he hadn't seen it himself. If he looked for it, though, he could find the huge scar on the trunk. The scar is enveloped in the beauty of its flowers and leaves.

In only a few days after the blizzard, our church experienced a major storm that nearly destroyed it. The damage to the congregation was considerable. Yet, it survived and became strong again.

Most people have scars in their lives too. Many live in a way that displays their open wounds to the world. People want to avoid them.

Others do not call attention to their wounds. Instead, they have allowed Christ to heal them so their scars become part of their inner beauty that points to the scars Jesus bears in His hands and feet for us. We can share the gospel to great effect by the way we reveal our scars.

Bob suggests that perhaps the purpose of our scars is to understand His scars. The Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 3:10 (NKJV):

"That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings." .



Then in verses 12-14, Paul laid out the goal for our lives:

Courtesy Google.com
"Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended, but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."

That's my goal for this New Year: that my scars will help me understand how much He suffered for my salvation and that I will continue to press on to maturity in the faith, bringing others with me.