Thumb before stitchesLast year when cutting through cable ties with a sharp knife I ended up slicing through my thumb until the knife hit bone and stopped. It happened in an instant. One moment I was happily removing the netting that had protected my redcurrants from the birds, the next minute there was blood everywhere. A trip to A&E resulted in four stitches and a tetanus booster.

Ten days later when I reported to the surgery the nurse looked at my thumb and queried how long I had waited before making the appointment to remove the stitches. She was concerned at the slow rate of healing. My response was that I thought that things took longer to heal at my age. The nurse disagreed and asked me to come back and be tested for diabetes. 

P1050898Fortunately, the tests for diabetes were negative, and eventually my thumb healed. Eleven months have passed and while I still have some numbness and tingling in my thumb, the only visible evidence of the damage caused by the knife is the scar. When I look at the scar now you would think it would serve to remind me of the folly of perching on a ladder to cut cable ties with a knife. It seemed like a good idea at the time, particularly as I thought that I would probably get into trouble with my wife if I used the kitchen scissors. (Her first comment after words expressing dismay that I could be so stupid was; “why didn’t you use the kitchen scissors?”) But the scar on my thumb, although a product of folly, reminds me not of my stupidity, but of healing.

It is sad that many followers of Jesus do not achieve full relationship with God because their scars remind them of the wrong things. I hope that one result of cutting myself is that I will not make the same mistake again, but what if the cut never healed? What if I had to walk around with a bandage permanently protecting an open would that continued to leak blood? I would certainly struggle to do many things because the damage and the bandage would get in the way.

When Jesus appeared to the disciples after the resurrection there were scars on His resurrection body. Why did Jesus choose to retain those scars? Was it to demonstrate that it is possible for even the most terrible of wounds to heal; wounds inflicted by men on the Son of God? The scars that Jesus showed to the disciples are a reminder of the character of God shown through and in His Son. Perhaps when we consider our unworthiness in the belief that we are simply not good enough for God we are like wounds that never heal? Yet God in His patience waits for us not to understand, but to accept in faith His gift of grace. Consider the beauty reflected in everything God was prepared to do to offer healing to broken, damaged individuals like us. There is a reason for scars. They are part of the process of being healed.

Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:24-29 NIV)