Wear and Tear, Scars, and Redemption

I go to a little coffee shop in town that is wearing out. It’s been here for many years, and the chairs are getting worn, the pine flooring is badly beaten and even the walls show so much wear.

But I like that.

Why? Realistically, it’s a little grimy, compared to the newly renovated Starbucks in town, or other new coffee shops.

Or, why do we pay good money for old, broken things and call them “antiques”?

Another example: Pictured at the top of this post is my wife Terry’s idea of a dream house.  Mine too.

It’s a hand-hewn log home. Originally built in the 1800’s with muscle and sweat.  Crafted with iron against wood.  Now newly restored, but still old. (Image from handmadehouses.com, an amazing site if you’re interested in this kind of thing.)

You see, just like with antiques, it’s the wear and tear that makes it worth something now.  It’s the evidence of lives (well) lived before us.

In our own lives, in our own bodies, we show evidence of wear and tear too: we call them scars.  Scars are the proof of pain, but also of healing.  Scars mark us, make us different, sometimes they disfigure us.

Wear and tear. Scars. They tell a story, don’t they?

Each mark is a legacy of someone’s will, someone’s pain, someone’s history.

I have long, ugly scars from a life-saving surgery and I used to wonder about having a new, glorified body like Paul talks about in one of the letters he wrote to the Corinthians. I imagined that my resurrected body would have no scars, perfect in every way.

But Jesus’s resurrected body had scars

They were there for Thomas to feel, to touch.

Maybe Jesus is an exception. His story is the most powerful and important story in human history.  And his scars are the evidence, the proof of that story in his very body.

But maybe he’s not an exception. I don’t really know, but what I do know is that our scars, our signs of wear and tear are redeemable. In this life, at least, they are signposts of God’s redemptive power in our lives.

They are memories of the story of his love for us

But maybe not yet.

Maybe for you, you’re going through hard times. Divorce, disagreement, depression. Loss, pain, frustration.

All these things are unpleasant to go through, even feeling like they’re impossible to get through at the time.

Even Jesus eventually went through incredible pain and humiliation. We could suppose that Jesus wouldn’t want his scars because of the reminder to him and to us of that pain.  But it seems pretty obvious to me when I say that, that of course that’s not how He would see it.

But then why would we see things any other way when it comes to our scars?

We will, eventually, see God’s loving hand in all of this. Maybe not yet. But someday.

For now, we only need to rest in God and to trust in Him that one day this will all be redeemed.

If you’re going through something, if you’re in a whirlwind of circumstances, you don’t necessarily know “it’s going to work out.”  You don’t necessarily see through it all.  But God knows what he’s doing.  In time, he can redeem this, his love with break through.

All you can do is to trust.

For now, rest in His presence…

What’s your experience with scars?  Leave a comment below.

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  1. My experience with scars are physical (similar to this story) — as well as more mental, and emotional. Sometimes I also don’t ‘want’ them — because the reminders and echoes of the pain can seem much more ‘real’ or all-consuming than the present. But then, through surviving, stuff gets better. It fades. I learn I’m more adjusted and stronger than I thought I could ever be. Other times, I find myself fixating on those echoes, and wondering ‘is it EVER going to get better?’ I wonder if that’s the point I need to let go of my control and give it to God, so to speak. (As well as how to go about that process, lol.) I’ve found myself in similar circumstances that I try to somatically move through on my own for healing, and sometimes that ‘fear’ of embracing God, to take care of me, and dive deep and ‘heal’ these things, offers opportunities for it to hurt more than before. I would much rather not let the anxiety win and persuade me to ‘take good care of myself and protect myself’ from the pain, when I can choose other things that instead open me up, help me see things clearly as they are, let my wings rest, and be free and safe in God’s presence. I’ve read many stories of people who have, over time, experienced this. And I want these scars to also be a testament to God’s restorative, redemptive, whole-creating power. Maybe not ‘perfectly’, and maybe not ‘completely’ this side of Heaven — because with the reality of memory, emotion and the fragile states of our heart, I ‘know’ how the inner landscape of our selves can appear to change rapidly. But through this all, I choose to believe that this healing I seek, and the rest I’m looking for, and the peace — as a steady reality — that it is possible. Because life keeps going on, and that thought is comforting to me, keeps me steady. I hope to grow (and manifest) this awareness, truth, and grace as I move forward into my life, through all the seasons it contains. 🙂 So this is my experience with scars, and I hope it can be relevant/comforting to other people who are reading this.
    Thank you for the great question which offers immense opportunity for self-reflection!

    1. Hi Hannah,

      Thanks so much for telling your story. It’s so true what you said that we often so badly want to protect ourselves from pain but that there are better options that lead us forward into God’s presence and will. He provides rest for our souls, we don’t. Yet, we often try to. Thanks for sharing your insights.


  2. Thank you for this devotion! It hits home with me. I’m dealing with old scars inside my heart. I also have physical scars. I dwell too much on the scars of my heart. I have a lot of mental pain. I am trying too hard to give them up to God. I try so hard that I make it harder on myself than
    it needs to be. I appreciate your devotions!❤❤❤

    1. Thanks Julie. I know what you mean. Sometimes the emotional scars become signposts of pain, when in reality God wants to transform them into signposts of His grace. It’s a difficult thing to actively participate in shifting those memories from pain to grace, but I believe it can be done. I’m working on that myself and I’m eager to share what I’m learning in the future.