My God-Blessed Scar
I've got a 4” scar on my neck and I wouldn't change it for anything.
Hi! 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 that 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 that 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 more time, my attitude about that scar changed as well. But something else had changed – 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 that they represent began to change when I became convinced that God was going to do something wonderful and powerful through that 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, I tell you that scar was the symbol of my broken neck and it became something in which I could boast. I was able to boast in my affliction, boast in the 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 – it was my 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 Chapter 6, verse 17. He says there, “For I bear on my body the scars that show that I belong to Jesus.” Wow! Think about that. 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 chapter 49 tells us that “He has engraved us on the palm of His hand.” You know, I like to imagine that when God says He engraved us on the palms of His hands that that engraving, that scar is the very wound from the nails that were driven through His hands. He looks at those nail prints and thinks of us. Wow!
So, 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, 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. Everybody can see 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 that you used to be embarrassed about keeps you depending on Jesus and you belong to Him and not to the world ... and as you do boast, 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. Wow! What a scar that is!
Contact us at joniradio.org. That’s a different link to my radio page than you usually hear me say, but it’s a lot easier: joniradio.org. God bless you today and thanks for listening to Joni and Friends.
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Featured Resources From Joni Eareckson Tada: Sharing Hope
Songs of Suffering includes 25 hymns with accompanying devotions and photography designed to spark hope in hardship. Opening with a special message from hymn writers Keith and Kristyn Getty, this book is a source of comfort for anyone who needs biblical encouragement, prompting readers to seek refuge in the Lord and rejoice in his goodness.