Some of you here may be old enough to remember when Lyndon Johnson was president. If you do, then you probably remember the time he was recuperating from gall bladder surgery and wanted to make sure that the reporters and the country knew that he was o.k. Being the “good ol’ boy” that he was, he just lifted up his shirt and showed off his scar. The reporters, of course, got a picture and published it, which prompted a letter to the editor of the New York Times that said “god forbid he should have a hemorrhoidectomy!”
We all have scars. I’ve got several that remind me of particular times and events in my life. Most of those memories are not exactly of good things but they’re still worth remembering. The following is a story about scars that I came across a few years ago.
Some years ago on a hot summer day in south Florida a little boy decided to go for a swim in the old swimming hole behind his house. In a hurry to dive into the cool water, he ran out the back door, leaving behind shoes, socks, and shirt as he went. He flew into the water, not realizing that as he swam toward the middle of the lake, an alligator was swimming toward the shore. His mother–in the house was looking out the window — saw the two as they got closer and closer together. In utter fear, she ran toward the water, yelling to her son as loudly as she could. Hearing her voice, the little boy became alarmed and made a U-turn to swim to his mother. It was too late. Just as he reached her, the alligator reached him. From the dock, the mother grabbed her little boy by the arms just as the alligator snatched his legs. That began an incredible tug-of-war between the two. The alligator was much stronger than the mother, but the mother was much too passionate to let go. A farmer happened to drive by, heard her screams, raced from his truck, took aim and shot the alligator. Remarkably, after weeks and weeks in the hospital, the little boy survived. His legs were extremely scarred by the vicious attack of the animal. And, on his arms, were deep scratches where his mother’s fingernails dug into his flesh in her effort to hang on to the son she loved. The newspaper reporter who interviewed the boy after the trauma, asked if he would show him his scars. The boy lifted his pant legs. And then, with obvious pride, he said to the reporter, “But look at my arms. I have great scars on my arms, too. I have them because my Mom wouldn’t let go.” You and I can identify with that little boy. We have scars, too. No, not from an alligator, or anything quite so dramatic. But, the scars of a painful past. Some of those scars are unsightly and have caused us deep regret. But, some wounds, my friend, are because God has refused to let go. In the midst of your struggle, He’s been there holding on to you. The Scripture teaches that God loves you. If you have Christ in your life, you have become a child of God. He wants to protect you and provide for you in every way. But sometimes we foolishly wade into dangerous situations. The swimming hole of life is filled with peril – and we forget that the enemy is waiting to attack. That’s when the tug-of-war begins – and if you have the scars of His love on your arms be very, very grateful. He did not – and will not – let you go.
“For we do not have a High Priest [Jesus] who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”