The Upper Room devotional reflection for Monday, February 6, 2023, was written by Larry Scanlan of Maryland.
1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; 4 he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away." 5 And the one who was seated on the throne said, "See, I am making all things new." Also, he said, "Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true."
Revelation 21:1-5 NRSV
In 2020, I had basal cancer cells surgically removed from my face. To shrink and flatten the visible scar, I had to massage it several times a day. I also had to wear a medical silicone sheet over the scar for 23 hours a day. In other words, removing the scar required effort from me. This experience led me to think about the varied scars we have in our lives. Some scars are visible, but most I believe are not – scars from abandonment, abuse, regrets from poor choices, or disobedience to God’s word.
I am thankful for doctors who can remove bad cells or counselors who can help us uncover pain deep inside us. But I am most thankful that our Lord has already done the work of healing scars of spiritual separation. I can’t work hard or long enough to heal myself or to earn my way into God’s presence. Jesus, thankfully, did that work on the cross, offering forgiveness for our sins and healing our scars. Some scars will always be part of us. But God promises that those who love and believe in Christ will receive a new body in heaven – where our scars, be they visible or invisible, will be no more (see Revelation 21:4). What an amazing promise!
Do you have scars? Little reminders of what use to be major wounds. Scars that remind us of our deliverance from life threatening illness, like those from bypass surgery. Scars that remind us of the new life ushered into the world through c-section. Scars that remind us of a bad choice, mistake in judgment or horrible situation. What do your scars remind you of? Physical scars are easy to see and to remember, but what happens when the scars are invisible, emotional scars? These scars can become obstacles to our growth, development, and freedom.
God wants to heal all our emotional scars and transform them into the catalyst for our healing and restoration, that they might become sanctified scars. God makes holy the wounds the devil intended to permanently disfigure and distort our ability to trust in God, changing them into emblems of healing, unconditional love and hope. It’s important to note, that God does not inflict emotional scars upon us. On the contrary, God heals the wounds meant to permanently disfigure our ability to trust in God, so that they become sanctified scars and testaments to God’s ability to heal us from anything.
Dear Lord, help us cast our cares and fears on you. We trust you to sustain us until the day we are in your eternal presence. Amen.
- Larry Scanlan