“The reproaches of those who reproach you have fallen on me.” Psalm 69:9
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh…
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:7-11,16-18
A reproach is a treasure? Affliction a gift? Persecution a mercy? Near death a manifestation of life? The ways of God are mysterious and subversive to human reason, but supernatural and glorious just the same, and all the more. (Isaiah 55:8-9)
When enduring the choke of deep hurt, past experiences can resurface and sting all over again, though they occurred long ago. Caught off guard, we wonder where the gnaw of inside unease comes from. Are reminder pangs the enemy, tempting sins I’ve forgiven to resurface and me to lengthen my list of grievances and bitterness? Is he forcing another stone in my hand to heap upon stored vengeance? But I thought I forgave that, and love keeps no record of wrongs! (1 Corinthians 13:4-5)
Yet in every remembrance of past reproach we have endured, the Lord reminds us He has borne this suffering too, and on my behalf. He whispers, ‘Think on what is true. This is your privilege to know Me better. Do not turn to anger or resentment. Yes, you may always have a scar, but I have healed that scar. Just like the scars on My hands and feet, the work has been finished, and I have healed. These marks identify My mercy and love toward you and are merely reminders that I finished it forever for you.’ (Philippians 4:8)
What needs be adjusted to receive hurts as a privilege as God’s child?
“Hast thou no scar?
No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand?
I hear thee sung as mighty in the land;
I hear them hail thy bright, ascendant star.
Hast thou no scar?
Hast thou no wound?
Yet I was wounded by the archers; spent,
Leaned Me against a tree to die; and rent
By ravening beasts that compassed Me, I swooned.
Hast thou no wound?
No wound? No scar?
Yet, as the Master shall the servant be,
And piercèd are the feet that follow Me.
But thine are whole; can he have followed far
Who hast no wound or scar?” ~Amy Carmichael (1867-1951)
Lord, may I welcome scars as reminders of Your deep and sacrificial love, and love others with hands marked and inspired by You.