I've got a 4" scar on my neck and I wouldn't change it for anything.
Welcome to Joni and Friends and I'm Joni Eareckson Tada. And, yes, even though decades have passed since I broke my neck, you can still see the scar. I should tell you though, it didn't happen when I dove in the water. I got this scar when the surgeons opened up the front of my neck in order to fuse the interior of the two cervical vertebrae that I had broken. For many months, almost a year after that surgery, I tried so hard to cover up that 4" ugly red gash in the front of my neck. I tried rubbing vitamin E on it, hoping it would go away. It was too big to mask with makeup and so, for a while, I wore nothing but turtleneck sweaters ... even in the summer; that's how embarrassed I used to be about this scar.
Well, over time, the red color began to disappear and, I guess, all that Vitamin E on it even made it look smooth. And over time, my attitude about that scar changed as well. But something else had changed in that time - I had been reading God's Word, especially the parts about His plan and purpose in the midst of our sufferings. And that is what made all the difference. My perspective on scars and the suffering they represented began to change when I became convinced that God was going to do something wonderful and powerful through my broken neck. And when I began to see that wonderful thing God was doing... (you know, seeing how my wheelchair opened doors for giving the Gospel) well, that scar that was the symbol of my broken neck became something in which I could boast. I was able to boast in my affliction, boast in that scar, just as the Bible was telling me to do... and that scar on my neck showed that I belonged to Jesus in a very unique, unusual and special way. It was my-well for lack of a better word -- initiation mark into the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings.
You know, I thought about this not long ago when I read the Apostle Paul's words in Galatians 6:17. He says there, "From now on, don't let anyone trouble me with these things. For I bear on my body the scars that show I belong to Jesus." Wow! Just like the apostle, that gash on my neck is God's mark of ownership on me. And, listen, even the Lord carries those marks for Isaiah 49 tells us that "He has engraved us on the palm of His hand." And the Lord goes on to say, "Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands..." You know... I like to imagine that when God says He has us engraved on the palms of His hands... that engraving, that scar is the very wound from the nails that were driven through His hands.
Friend, what is God's mark of ownership on you? Maybe it is a scar, or a pair of crutches, a hearing aid or a back brace or knee brace. Well, if that physical problem has forced you to lean harder on Jesus, well... it means something. It's a tangible reminder of your need of God. So think, your body has been marred so that it displays God's ownership of your life. You belong to Him. So, whatever that scar or physical reminder is, take a minute to boast in it, would you ... to tell others, as well as the unseen world of demons and angels looking on, that that scar keeps you depending on Jesus and you belong to Him and not to the world... and as you do, remember that the Lord bears His own physical reminder that you belong to Him, as well... and because you're engraved right in the palm of His hand. What a scar!
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