As a teenager I was playing leftfield tracking down a ground-ball that had found its way between our third baseman and shortstop when the ball took a bad hop and struck me just above my chin. Turns out my teeth went through my lower lip resulting in a trip in the ER for stitches.
My left wrist has limited mobility. Sometimes I'll feel a sharp pain for no apparent reason. Almost forty years ago I was again playing leftfield and dove headlong for a fly ball heading toward the gap. I missed the ball and landed square on my left hand and jammed my wrist. It’s never been the same since.
The middle finger on my right hand slightly but noticeably slants toward my ring finger. I was leading off second base when the pitcher whirled to pick me off and as I dove back I jammed my middle finger into the base. Another trip to the ER for X-rays. The finger was broken.
The biggest scar on my body is above my right heel. As an adult I was playing second base on our church softball team when I lunged to my left to field a line drive when I felt a snap. My Achilles tendon tore and the subsequent surgery has left a three inch scar. A permanent reminder of that game.
I regret those scars on my body yet they tell me a story. The story of my love for the game. The story of what I was willing to put my body through because of a passion. The story of my commitment to play through the injuries.
Scars do that. Many of our scars are a testimony to our passions, loves, and commitments. The apostle Paul seemed to think so.
Some questioned Paul's commitment as a Christian. Some wondered whether or not he really had made the transition from Christian-killer to Christian missionary. When called upon to defend the authenticity of his faith more than once he offered his scars as proof of his commitment. He offers into evidence being flogged, beaten, and stoned. He argued that he had suffered through sleepless nights and had found himself on the run as he was pursued by his enemies. He'd been shipwrecked, cold, and without clothes. He goes so far to say, "I have scars on my body that show I belong to Christ Jesus."
Paul's scars told a story. A story of his passion, commitment , and love for Jesus.
When you’re passionate about a cause you always have to give up something. You get hurt or injured. Sacrifice and scars go hand in hand with commitment and dedication. Yet, in spite of the stitches and surgeries your passion always leads you back into the battle. Back even at the risk of more scars.
All this makes me wonder. What scars do I have that bear witness to my passion to Christ? Am I committed enough to take one on the chin for my faith? Will my passion for Him lead me back into the battle even after injuries, or will I retreat in fear?
The great theologian and reformer Martin Luther once said, "A religion that gives nothing, costs nothing, and suffers nothing, is worth nothing." One has to wonder if an unscarred Christian is really one at all.
Our scars do indeed tell a story. May they tell a story of relentless and passionate faith.