Daily Devotion - March 24, 2021 - Thankful for the Scars

Pastor: Connie Belmore

Daily Devotion – March 24, 2021
Reading: 2 Corinthians 1:3-11
Weekly Theme: The Wounds and Sorrows of Ministry
Today: Thankful for the Scars1

Most of us have a few scars, both visible scars from accidents or surgeries, and emotional scars, and with these scars have experienced pain. We may find ourselves asking the question I was first asked by my philosophy professor in my first year at college, “If God is real, and is a loving God, why is there suffering; why do we experience pain?” The question was asked to teach the student the art of philosophical, not spiritual, debate. We might be able to cover scars with make-up or clothes, but the scar does not go away. So, from a spiritual perspective, how do we respond to this question

You wonder about the title of today’s devotion, Thankful for the Scars1… why would we be thankful? We find the answer in the song entitled the same and in 2 Corinthians 1:3-11. The chorus of the song contains these powerful words: So, I'm thankful for the scars 'cause without them I wouldn't know your heart, and I know they'll always tell of who you are, so forever I am thankful for the scars.

The apostle Paul is in essence saying the same thing in 1 Corinthians 1:3-11, speaking as one who suffered greatly as an apostle and became a visible and outspoken follower of Jesus Christ. Paul is reminding the readers of his day and us today that God does let us encounter difficult circumstances so that we might be able to use them as we minister to others with empathy based on our own experiences and pain. When we find ourselves comforting others by relying on our own experience with pain, we begin to realize the reality of God at work in our lives and enabling and empowering us to minister to the needs of others. Our suffering experiences are directly connected to God’s forming us, reforming us, and using us to minister to others in their times of suffering2, being mindful that we should never say “I know exactly how you feel”, but we should let them know we do understand and empathize with their pain and suffering. Our physical and emotional scars each have a story that enables us to relate to others in their seasons of difficulty and pain.

Jesus came to live on this earth, in part, to experience everything humans experience including our pain and suffering. He now sits next to God the Father and intercedes on our behalf in all situations and circumstances. The next time we experience suffering, may we remember God allows brokenness in our lives so that we might be stripped of our self-sufficiency and rely on God to deliver us through our suffering. If God can raise the dead, God can certainly bring hope and optimism into what seems to be an impossible situation. At any given moment, we might find ourselves going through physical, emotional, or spiritual crises and pain, but the God who brought us to that pain is going to give us all we need to get through it and will then empower us to help others who go through pain. So, let us “thankful for the scars” realizing they help to form and make us into Christians who are equipped and empowered by our experience to minister to the needs of others.

Dear God, thank you for the scars your Son bore for our sakes, and thank you for the scars you have given us so that we might be more sensitive to the needs of others and be moved to minister to them in their times of need. Stir our hearts to respond. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Notes
1 Matthew Armstrong, Matthew Hein, Ethan Hulse, Jon Mcconnell. Songwriters of Thankful for the Scars
2 Tony Evans, The Tony Evans Study Bible, 2 Corinthians 1:3-11 study notes, pp. 1364-1366

 
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