I had the thought last night, I wonder if Job had scars. The bible teaches us that he had boils on his skin, and that he cut himself in his anguish. It just makes me wonder, you know in chapter 42, where he is surrounded by his new family, his wealth is returned and his joy as well, did he remember?
Did he sometimes catch a glimpse of his arms…?
Did he see the scars left behind…?
I’m sure on some days he would just move on. The scars are a part of the new normal. They were just a part of his arm, not memories of the past.
But then, on other days, perhaps the quieter days, did he see those scars…and get taken back? To a different time and place. A place where the answers weren’t coming. Time had not yet healed. Those weren’t scars, they were bloody painful places. Open wounds that kept him in pain day in and day out. Even sleep couldn’t numb the pain.
But now, those wounds are not open any longer. They are now scars. They healed over, but they never. went. away. Yes, I am convinced, Job had scars. Job carried around on his body evidence of the mysteries of God.
Sometimes in my life I want miraculous healing. I want my wounded places to look as if no wound had ever been known. I want to experience this power of God. But in that kind of healing, perhaps something is lost. Perhaps by living through the full cycle of the wound, I will end up with something better. I will end up with a scar. A continual reminder of the greatness and the mystery of God.
Do I doubt God’s ability to heal? Is it my lack of faith that keeps His healing powers at bay? Absolutely not! In fact it is my firm faith in His ability that makes His silence a mystery. I know that the God who raised Jesus from the dead has the power to bring new life to any part of me that is lacking. I have no lack of faith in His ability.
But now, I am left with this mystery, that you, my God, who loves me and wants the best for me, you who died to take my place, you who sacrificed yourself for me, are at this time unwilling to make me whole.
Job never did get the answers he wanted. But he did get an answer. It was a lengthy answer, perhaps more than Job bargained for. Listen to Job’s response after God had spoken:
I know that you can do all things;
no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
You asked, “Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?”
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.
You said “Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.”
My ears have heard of you
but now my eyes have seen you.
Therefore, I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.
My ears have heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you. And through these scars, my eyes are continually reminded of your greatness, your vastness, your mystery.
Like this tree has a scar where once was a loved limb. What is the story? How was it lost? Every spring, new life graces this tree as life continues to move on. But every spring, there is this one place where there are no leaves. Does the tree feel its loss? Certainly she never forgets. She has the scars to remind her. Either way, each year, through the seasons, it continues to give glory to its Creator. Not in spite of its scars, but even through them. There is life on the other side of loss, she seems to proclaim! Just like the stone monuments raised by the Israelites to proclaim God’s works to future generations, our scars hold a story, a truth, a promise. Sometimes that story is of victory after many long hard battles. Or perhaps God’s rescue when we had lost the battle and become prisoners to the enemy. Or maybe the truth is that indeed God is too wonderful for me understand. There is beauty in every scar.