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Tinsley column: When we are wounded

Bill Tinsley
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The Chronicle Express

Columns share an author’s personal perspective.

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We bought a rocking horse for our son on his first birthday. It was simple and sturdy, made of unfinished wood. That was 42 years ago. Over the years, it continued to hold its head high, but the tail drooped between its legs. I am sure we intended to paint it someday, but that day never came. Instead, our son decorated it with crayons, pens and markers. We passed it down to his little sister, born eight years later, and then to our grandchildren. They covered it with scratches and scribbles, dents and dings.

The little rocking horse had little value. But it became priceless to us because of the scratches, dents, dings and scribbled drawings left behind by our children and grandchildren. We treasured it because of its scars.

Life is much like that. We start out youthful and unblemished, unmarred by the world. But, over time, we become scarred with age. Cuts, abrasions and burns leave their marks on our bodies. And, at a deeper level, the setbacks and disappointments, the sorrows of separation and loss add up. We find ourselves scarred and wounded. Perhaps at no time has this been more obvious than this year of the pandemic and social unrest.

But, like our little wooden horse, those scars make us all the more precious in our Father’s eyes.

Imagine how precious the scars that Jesus endured appear to the Father. The nail prints in His hands, the sword riven side and the lashings upon His back are the marks of his sacrifice and love. Isaiah says, “But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5). And, again Peter says, “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed” (1 Peter 2:24).

Few have suffered as many hardships as the Apostle Paul. Of these he wrote, “Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, ... I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. ... But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 11:24-27, 12:9-10).

Our undeserved wounds and innocent scars make us precious in the sight of God. Just as Peter wrote, “For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God” (1 Peter 2:20).

Bill Tinsley reflects on current events and life experience from a faith perspective. Visit www.tinsleycenter.com. Email bill@tinsleycenter.com.