As a kid growing up in Texas during the 1950s, we spent a lot of time outside. Since there were no video games, electronics or even television worth watching, all the kids in the neighborhood would gather and we would create our own games.
Sometimes we would play baseball or football, but most of the time it was Cowboys and Indians. My friends used to fight over who would be Wyatt Earp, Roy Rogers or the Lone Ranger. Not me. I always wanted to be Geronimo, Cochise or Yellow Hand.
I love playing the game, sneaking up on the cowboys and attacking them when the least expected it. One of my favorite ways to accomplish that was to get on the roof of the house, lay in wait, and then jump on them when they came by. It always worked.
My parents, however, were not very pleased with my plan. Time and time again they warned me not to do it. They really believed that if I continued to jump off the roof, something terrible would happen to me. But I knew better. After all I had done it several times with no consequences.
Then came that one jump that didn’t go as planned. I hid behind the chimney, stalking those forked tongue white eyes. In two steps I was at the edge of the roof ready to leap into their midst when my foot slipped. Instead of leaping on my friends, I landed knee first on a cactus.
Ouch. I had cactus needles covering my knee and because of the force of the fall, I had several that were shoved up and under my kneecap. It was a really painful experience that continued for a couple of years until finally the removed the last of them by surgery. And then the surgery left a really big scar.
Many years later one of my young daughters asked about the scar. So, in typical Ray Price fashion, I began to spin this great yarn about how I was injured fighting General Custer at Little Big Horn. Some time later when she was old enough to learn the truth, she was pretty irritated with me.
But, in a kind of weird way (again typical Ray Price weird), the story wasn’t totally fabricated because every time I see that scar I remember all the great battles I had with my friends of the neighborhood. I think about the times I ambushed them as they moved through the pass. That scar was simply a wound from those great battles on the plains of Texas.
As we go through life, all of us pick up scars. Some are physical and some are more emotional, but they are there for all of us. We, however, get to decide whether they are symbols of trauma or symbols of healing, victory or overcoming obstacles in our lives.
One of the greatest promises in the Living, Breathing Word of God is found in Romans 8:28 where the Apostle Paul says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those love him, who have been called according to His purpose.”
When we take that to heart, when we truly believe that in ALL things God works for good, then our scars become not a symbol of hurt or pain but a reminder of the love of God and how He works in our lives. How he works in every situation, good or bad. And how He uses those scars to mold us and fill us.