Bob Tamasy: Are You Thankful For Your Scars?

Monday, November 9, 2020 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

There’s a universal reality about life: It scars us, no matter how careful we try to be. And the longer we live, the greater our scars, in number and sometimes in severity.

 

Some of our scars are visible, such as ones I’ve collected on my hands over the years, as well as the “zipper” I received during my open-heart surgery nearly 14 years ago. But other scars aren’t as evident, especially ones of an emotional or psychological nature. Either way, they serve as reminders of painful moments and events in our past.

 

What brought this to mind was a song, “Scars,” that I heard the other day, sung by a group called I Am They.

The lyrics declare, “I am thankful for the scars.” I wonder, as you consider the scars you’ve accumulated during your life, can you say you’re thankful for them?

 

You might be thinking, “Thankful? No way!” A failed marriage might come to mind, the unexpected passing of the loved one, a debilitating illness, the death of a long-cherished dream due to unavoidable circumstances. There are many other possibilities. Long after the original wounds were inflicted, scars remain as indelible “souvenirs.” How can we to be thankful about the hurt they represent?

 

And yet, some scars can serve a positive purpose. Just like memories of past failures, they can serve as reminders – even motivation – for avoiding similar mistakes in the future.

 

I have a good friend, Ken, who fought as a Marine in Vietnam and suffered serious injuries. To this day he bears the scars from wounds he sustained. Today, he sees them as a vivid reminder of the person he was before coming to know Jesus Christ – and the changes the Lord has done in his life since then. The difference, he would tell you, is like comparing night and day.

 

The Scriptures have a lot to say about scars. For instance, it was scars that convinced Jesus’ followers of His resurrection. “Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, ‘Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and feet. It is I myself!... When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet” (Luke 24:36-40).

 

In another passage, we see the doubtful disciple, Thomas, who demanded proof of Jesus’ triumph over death. Eyewitness testimony offered by others wasn’t sufficient. So Jesus presented evidence – His scars. “Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe’” (John 20:27). Those visible scars dispelled all of Thomas’s uncertainty as he declared, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28).

 

The apostle Paul suffered much in serving Jesus Christ. He even had some kind of affliction, described as “a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me.” Did he like this “scar”? Definitely not. He wrote, “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me” (2 Corinthians 12:-8).

 

Scholars speculate what this “thorn” was. It could have been a variety of things, such as poor eyesight, a speech impediment, a physical disability, headaches, even bouts of depression. No one knows for certain. It’s clear, however, that God used it for a good purpose in Paul’s life.

 

Noting that despite his pleas, the Lord chose not to remove this “thorn,” Paul wrote, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

 

Like Paul, we’ve all got scars – or thorns – in our lives we wish God would simply erase. But also like Paul, we can rejoice in them, recognizing that through our weaknesses, the Lord manifests His strength and reminds us of our utter dependence on Him.

 

 

But our scars can provide another benefit. Henri Nouwen, a Catholic priest, writer and theologian, devoted many years to serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities at L’Arche Daybreak community in Ontario, Canada. During that time he gained a great understanding of, even an appreciation for, the importance of not allowing our scars to impede our progress through life.

 

He wrote, “The main question is not, how can we hide our wounds…but how can we put our woundedness in service to others.”

 

My friend that I mentioned earlier, the Vietnam vet? Today he heads a non-profit organization devoted to helping and encouraging disabled military veterans, people with physical, psychological and spiritual wounds that have been unaddressed for too long. Ken is using his own scars to help in facilitating healing for others.

 

Whether discovering in deeper ways how we must rely on the Lord, or in leveraging our pain into means for ministering to others, we too can be thankful for the scars.


* * *

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include the newly published, ”Marketplace Ambassadors”; “Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace”; “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” A weekly business meditation he edits, “Monday Manna,” is translated into more than 20 languages and sent via email around the world by CBMC International. The address for his blog is www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com. His email address is btamasy@comcast.net.


Steve Ellison: Giving Thanks

Scenic City Women's Network Distributes 1,000 Masks Through Operation Give Back Program

Union Gospel Mission Seeks Volunteers To Serve This Thanksgiving Eve


The Year of Our Lord 2020 has been a stressful one, filled with challenges, tests, trials, and temptations. My countrymen have largely lived sheltered lives. For whatever reasons, compared to ... (click for more)

One of Scenic City Women’s Network's many programs and services is Operation Give Back. This service allows SCWN to “give-back” to the community as a way of saying “thank you” to members and ... (click for more)

On Wednesday, The Union Gospel Mission will be serving Thanksgiving dinners to homeless neighbors from 1-3 p.m. on the corners of Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard and Houston Street, and Martin ... (click for more)



Church

Steve Ellison: Giving Thanks

The Year of Our Lord 2020 has been a stressful one, filled with challenges, tests, trials, and temptations. My countrymen have largely lived sheltered lives. For whatever reasons, compared to almost everyone else around the world in every age, we have lived in ease, comfort, and safety. Perhaps, God will use Thanksgiving to bring us to our senses. We have not been grateful for the ... (click for more)

Scenic City Women's Network Distributes 1,000 Masks Through Operation Give Back Program

One of Scenic City Women’s Network's many programs and services is Operation Give Back. This service allows SCWN to “give-back” to the community as a way of saying “thank you” to members and to other organizations doing good work. "In today’s environment, we are happy to share a bit of goodwill," officials said. Yvonne Harvey, SCWN program’s coordinator, arranged this ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Heavy Rain And Then Snow Showers In Forecast For Chattanooga As Warm Temps Retreat

Heavy rain and then snow showers are in upcoming weather forecasts for the Chattanooga area as warm temperatures retreat. An approaching storm is expected to bring up to two inches of rain on Sunday night. Then there is a chance of rain and snow on Monday night as the mercury drops to 28 degrees. Here is the upcoming forecast: Sunday A 30 percent chance of showers, ... (click for more)

Tennessee Has 3,052 New COVID Cases, 13 More Deaths; Hamilton County Has 320 New COVID Cases And 1 New Death

The number of coronavirus cases in Tennessee is 366,518 on Sunday with 3,052 new cases. There have been 13 more deaths from the virus, for a total of 4,554, said state Health Department officials. Hamilton County had 320 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday. The new total is 17,826. There was one more death from the virus in the county since Friday, bringing the total to 153. ... (click for more)

Opinion

County Employees Need A Bonus Too

A few weeks ago we learned that Sheriff Jim Hammond was asking for a second raise. Earlier this year Hamilton County employees were notified that "due to COVID-19" there would be no raises for employees of any kind this year. I guess Mr. Hammond didnt get that memo about no raises. Why is it that some employees will be getting a raise and others are not? That doesn't really ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Thanksgiving Lesson

We had a strict rule at our house in my childhood that whenever there was a festive dinner of any type, politics were never allowed to be broached nor discussed, and the only time religion was ever mentioned was during the blessing itself. So, I laughed from a lifetime of experience when I heard on Saturday that one of my dearest friends, suddenly surrounded by flaming lefties who ... (click for more)