We all have scars. Some visible. Some not so visible. Webster’s Dictionary defines a scar as “a mark remaining after injured tissue has healed.” I want to look today at a verse in Psalms and share something beautiful that I hope makes you look at your scars differently.
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”Psalm 147:3
This Psalm paints a comforting picture, but there’s much more here than meets the eye.
The Hebrew word for wounds is abatstsebeth (pronounced ats-tseh’-beth), which translates to “pain, wound, sorrow, affliction, grievance.” Pretty straight forward, right? I think we can all relate. But what I was struck by was the Hebrew word for binds, which is chabash. It means “to bind, wrap around, cover, envelope, enclose.” I hope that gave you the same goose bumps it gave me. When we’re hurting about something, it’s God’s desire to envelope us. He wraps His strong, faithful and able arms around us and provides not only comfort, but a cover of protection. When we allow God into a situation that’s causing us pain, God can so infiltrate our hearts and minds in that matter that He literally envelopes that pain and forms what you might say is scar tissue – He is, in essence, binding the wound.
I don’t believe God intended for scars to have a negative connotation. You see, scars don’t hurt – wounds do. If you have something that’s still painful, that means it hasn’t fully healed.
When I was six, I was attacked by a German Shepard, and ended up with 186 stitches in my face and neck. Most of the wounds healed beautifully, except for a large one extending upward from the right side of my upper lip. I was very insecure about it as a teenager. One day, a boy I had a crush on made fun of it, and I went home crying and felt completely devastated and ugly. I should mention that German Shepard was our dog. He was well trained but, for reasons unknown, snapped at the time of the incident – something I’m quite sure my dad felt beyond horrible about. I share this, because, after I came home that day feeling broken, I’m certain it’s the reason he offered to take me to a cosmetic surgeon to see about getting it removed. This would be an elective procedure and not at all in their budget.
We went to that surgeon for a consultation, and he explained how he would cut out the scar and re-stitch it so it wasn’t nearly as visible. Once I got home, I can still vividly remember sitting on my bed and feeling an immense sense of comfort. I don’t think I realized it was God speaking to me at the time, but after that moment, I went to my dad and said, “Dad, I really appreciate you being willing to do this for me, but this scar is a part of who I am and a part of my story. And if some boy thinks it makes me ugly, then that boy isn’t the right boy for me.” I can’t explain how such mature words came out of me, outside of God binding my wound. Today, I don’t even see that scar anymore, and if I do happen to notice it, I have zero hurt associated with it. To me, it’s as distinctive as my green eyes. It’s just part of what makes up my face.
Scars are merely the evidence of once existing wounds, each with their own, unique story to tell. Your scars are not for you. They are for someone else to touch, to see that you made it through – to encourage them and strengthen them to know that they too can persevere (2 Cor 1:4). So, the next time you find yourself encouraging someone else through a situation that you yourself once passed through, remember to praise God for your scars. They are evidence of His Glory.
*A special thanks to one of my readers for the topic request.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary; Merriam-Webster.com. 2019. https://www.merriam-webster.com(April 2019).
Hebrew translations are taken from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance: New American Standard Bible. 1995. Updated ed. La Habra: Lockman Foundation. http://www.biblestudytools.com/concordances/strongs-exhaustive-concordance/.