Tending Old Wounds

When I was 7 I tried to open a can of fruit cocktail by myself. I cut the top away clean, but I nearly took my index finger off at the knuckle when I reached in to pry the lid out of the can.

I kept my finger, but 30 years later I still have a fine white line that runs down the side of it, a reminder of the morning that it all went wrong.

It’s said that time heals all wounds, but we fail to mention that time also brings the scar tissue that fills in the damaged skin.

10 years ago today our country was wounded in a way that time is still attempting to mend.

I was standing outside of a McDonalds at 6am, waiting for a some friends to arrive when I heard the news about Manhattan. My friend Bill walked up and told me that he heard there had been an accident. My friend Tim got out of his car white as a sheet, when he said, “This ain’t no accident” his Caney Kansas drawl slipped.

The next few hours were a cascading sequence of events as terrible as they were unimaginable. I’ll never forget the palpably sickening realization that another plane could actually come out of the sky and smash into anything, at any minute.

Then it actually happened at the Pentagon.

I don’t have that awful feeling anymore, it was a wound healed by the passage of time. That wound has filled with scar tissue though.  When I drive past that McDonalds I can still remember it if I let myself.

If I let myself.

Humans have the capacity to focus their thoughts or let them stay scattered. We tend to not focus our thoughts on painful moments because of the sickening feelings they can bring.

So why would we choose to re-focus on those moments?

Because it’s not actually time that heals wounds and brings scar tissue to repairs. Most often, time doesn’t heal a wound. I’ve found that untreated, time often brings infection and sickness.

Time isn’t always the healer that we think it is.

Intentional care over time is what actually heals wounds and that’s why it’s important that we focus our attention on them.  Without focus and attention, we can’t provide the intentional care that it takes for wounds to actually heal.

While we understand that healing doesn’t come in an instant, too often we refuse to revisit our wounds and examine the scarring for fear of remembering past pain.  When we neglect this type of visitation we actually lose the ability to learn if the hurt has lessened.

We live with a phantom pain that we feel but don’t understand.

That’s what our enemy wants right? To have us live in fear and pain that can’t be alleviated. An unwillingness to remember is an unwillingness to participate in our own healing and it plays into the hands of our accusers.

Today a nation remembers the pain as we examine the wound. I’d encourage you to feel what you need to feel until it passes. You see, it’s in the examination that you begin to understand how much work there is left to do…

…and the amount of work that’s already been done.

The scar isn’t just the symbol of a painful loss, it’s also a reminder of how much you didn’t lose. The scar is a signal of what couldn’t be taken away, a way in which the damage failed to defeat you.

Scripture tell us that our eternity will be spent with a Savior who still bears the scars of our redemption. For eternity we will examine those old wounds, wounds that simultaneously speak of a terrible loss and a tremendous victory.

His scars will be a reminder of what was taken and what was given, both of which cannot be lost and should never be taken for granted.  The persistence of the scar is an insistence that we never forget, because it’s in the remembering that we find love, solace, and redemption.

Today our scars remind us of what we don’t want to believe; that pain, suffering, and evil are real.  But scars also call us to remember what we so easily forget; that God is good and that pain, suffering, and evil are not beyond his ability to master.

‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”  He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:4-5

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