Sunday, February 28, 2021

Scars of Blessing

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Ref: Genesis 32:24-31

June 28th, 2011, sometime before noon:

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I was about seven miles out of town, cutting down dead, beetle-killed pine trees with my chain saw in a large pine forest of lodge pole pines. I was alone, and I was miles away from cell phone service. I realized the enormity of my two, most basic of mistakes when my saw blade rebounded into the side of my left knee. It happened so fast, that the damage was complete before I realized I was damaged. Falling to the ground, I looked at my torn jeans and saw bluish white bones, and blood was literally gushing from my body. I screamed a prayer: “Jesus, help me! Give me a new knee!”

About ¼ mile from my truck, uphill from me through the pine forest, my only thought was to get to my truck and get to the hospital in town before the shock wore off and the pain knocked me out. Every step I took, I felt and heard the blood gush from my wound, but making it to my truck I took off for town. Driving as fast as safety would allow, I entered cell phone service about five miles later and called my wife. I told her to contact the emergency room to prepare for my arrival, as I would need immediate help upon arrival.

Passing cars in no passing lanes and driving quite a bit above the speed limits, I didn’t care if I picked up a state patrol car, as I determined only to pull over once – in the parking lot at the hospital.

Upon arrival, one might say I made quite a splash; the maintenance person was mopping up the blood from the ER entrance to the gurney inside, as they wheeled my wheelchair in. It was a mess, to say nothing about the floor board of my truck, (which had to be hosed down at a car wash).

“The Great Chainsaw Massacre”, as I titled it, became an indelible part of my Colorado history, and still is today. I have a very visible four inch scar on my left knee, (which by the way, works as well as a new knee). Having related all this gore and mistake-related trauma, my point is that every time I see that scar on my knee, I don’t think about the bloody pine forest, or the idiot behind my chain saw; I think about how Jesus, and the surgeon He selected, made me whole. He saved my leg when it was not at all certain I would keep it. Every time I see my scar I am thankful all over again!

Badly wounded, with two cut arteries and over one hundred stitches in four layers of flesh, I had lots of time later to think about the events in the forest as I convalesced. I could have blamed the saw – after all, it had the blade that caused all the damage. I could have blamed myself, for I was the idiot who thought I could escape disaster by disregarding the rules…but blame, even if correctly placed, did not contribute one iota to my subsequent healing. And that’s a good life-lesson right there.

In my Genesis reference, we read the story of Jacob wrestling with the Angel. You can read it for yourself – it’s a great true story, but I’ll just bet as Jacob (Israel) limped away from the encounter the next morning, he wasn’t cursing his luck at having a painful hip socket, rather, he was thankful to have wrestled with God and still be alive to feel the pain. And don’t you know, he never forgot the night he saw God face to face! Jacob, bum hip and all, was forever afterward a changed man.

In our journey through life we all suffer wounds. Some are visible physically, but my guess is that the worst ones are unseen in our souls and spirits. And like the Great Chainsaw Massacre, we can spend the rest of our lives trying to adjust where we should place the blame, or we can lay the blaming aside and learn to be thankful for God’s grace, even if we have to limp a little.

I am very intimate with wounding and being wounded, both physically and spiritually. I never wanted to be intimate; it just happened along the way. Various mistakes and the attitudes of myself and others were contributing factors, but viewed from eternity, I doubt any of the causes matter. God alone is the one Who can heal us.

And God alone can cause us to praise Him with our whole hearts, even if we have to limp. It is facetiously said that “Time wounds all Heels.” That’s probably true, but God holds all time in His capable hands, and it is His wounds that heal us today.


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