This week I listened to a college student tell the story of his walk with Christ and ministry to middle school students. He said he had such a heart for middle school boys since his dad committed suicide when he was in seventh grade. Though he had been a rare church attender, the body of Christ showed him love and support in the midst of unspeakable grief. He talked about how Christ walked with him through deep pain and now he wanted to help others. He saw his past like a scar he saw on his arm every day to remind him of all that God had done.
Someone asked the question, “How much should you let your past play a role in your present?” She shared how when she dwelt on her past too much and blew on embers of pain and bitterness, it only seemed to hurt rather than help. We talked about the difference between a scab and a scar. When wounds are fresh we must allow God to heal them fully through godly counsel, the work of the Holy Spirit, and the love of the body of Christ.
If we pick at scabs continually, it slows the healing and leaves us feeling raw and bloody. However, once our wound heals, the scar left behind can be a good reminder of the pain we went through. We remember the pain, but also the healing.
We also can offer comfort to those still raw in their pain. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says, “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”
So when we have a situation in life that once caused great pain, it can serve as a reminder of God’s comfort to us. We then can let Jesus use that experience to help others with their similar war wounds. We can encourage them to lean on God so they won’t be tempted to pick at their scabs, even when they itch.
The book Sifted, by Wayne Cordeiro has an entire chapter that talks about letting your past be your mentor. He says, “The process of making our pasts our mentors helps us define the events of our past in order to make insightful wise decisions for our present and future. Our pasts can help guide us in wisdom, even if we’ve made mistakes or had bad things happen to us.”
As I think about recent hurts in my own life, I know I’ve been tempted to reopen the hurt. Instead God gave me these verses from 2 Corinthians right when I needed them most. He says…
- Let me be your source of comfort. Only through closeness to me will you truly find healing.
- Then when you have no more scabs and have fully let me comfort you, I will let you remember the scar so that you can comfort others.
He goes on in verses 8 & 9 to say, “We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.”
He calls us through the trials we think we will never live through to stop relying on ourselves, and choose to lean only on Him. He can raise the dead. I think that more than qualifies Him to help me through the source of my scabs. So no more pickin today.