It is an old scar, healed over a decade ago, yet sometimes it pulls and aches and I am reminded of that journey to death’s door and back. Close to that scar beats a heart once wounded by sorrow so fierce I thought I would die with every beat. Give me the scars caused by a knife over those inflicted in the name of love. They may twinge but they do not leave the ghosts of grief hovering at the edges of my present happiness.
I think of it as my “Job Period”, when God withdrew His hand and I plunged headlong into a marriage betrayed, children floundering, cancer stalking my veins. Years of trouble at my doorstep every day and nights of despair-soaked pillows brought me to this,
“Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” (Job 2:10 NIV)
I could not turn my back on the very One I needed so desperately even though I often raged at Him. When everything I held on to in this world was whipped away, God flooded the echoing void with His loving presence. I did not need to know the reasons or the outcome for such suffering, only Him. Three years previous a hunger to know God more deeply sent me to feast on His Word, bask in His presence, be satisfied with His love. In this way He prepared me for the terrible wounding I had no idea was coming.
When the man I handed my heart to betrayed me repeatedly then left me destitute, the wounding felt mortal. “I heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds,” God promised.(Ps. 147:3) Later He breathed life into my shattered heart through the clean, pure love of a man who belonged first to God and then to me.
As my son sank into a depression so deep he no longer wanted to live, I cried out to the One who knew what it was to face the death of a child. He heard my prayers to bring my son back from the brink. “But for you who revere My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings.” (Malachi 4:2) I now can see the shadow of God’s healing wings in the wise, peaceful eyes of my son.
For 12 years now I awake each morning surprised by life. Cancer has been held at bay, so every day is a gift I will never take for granted. “I will restore to you the years the locusts have eaten.” (Joel 2:25) Locusts devour everything in their path, like cancer. I do not know why God chose me to be a restored survivor. I don’t need to know, just rest in the blessing.
It is a mystery why the blood shed from the wounds of Jesus should be the very means of my healing. “But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5) My eternal healing from sin and separation from God will be fully realized when I see Him face to face. I may recall the wounds I received in my earthly life, but they will no longer have power to cause me pain. No scars will be visible then, except those I see on the risen Christ, received for me.