Life isn’t fair! You that have lived any length of time already know that. Justice doesn’t rule, righteousness doesn’t reign and wrongs are not always righted. What could I write that would encourage you – strengthen you – establish you?
James writes, “If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5). God is the source of wisdom but age certainly is a factor in seeking and securing it. When we are pronged to judge someone young in years, jusr remember that years and tears open the door to battles, scars and memories. Wisdom is often found within the experiences that those words bring.
One of the South’s greatest Generals in the Civil war was John B. Gordon of Georgia. Though not a professional soldier, he rose though the ranks to become a Lieutenant and corps commander at age 32. At the battle of Antietam, Gordon was horribly wounded – shot twice in the leg, once in the shoulder and once through the cheek. He bore the scars for the rest of his life.
Years after the war, Gordon ran for the U.S. Senate. One of his political opponents was a veteran who had served under him. The two had quarreled over politics and the man vowed he would do all in his power to defeat Gordon. Election day came. The veteran marched resolutely into the polling place to cast his vote against his old commander. There he saw General Gordon, his once handsome face now disfigured by scars. At the sight, memories came flooding back and tears ran down his cheeks. Turning to observers, the veteran said, “It’s no use boys, I can’t do it . . . I had forgotten the scars!”
Mother gave me a poem when I was young. I have quoted it before but it needs to be voiced again. I was the youngest of seven and mother was quite old. It took time and tears to understand it. The scars of life came soon enough.
“Hast thou no scar, on side or foot or hand?
I hear thee sung as mighty in the land.
I hear them hail thou bright ascendant star . . .
Hast thou no scar?”
“Hast thou no wound, yet I was wounded by
the archer’s spent.
Leaned me against a tree to die and rent.
Like raven beasts they compassed me, I swooned.
Hast thou no wound?”
“No wound, no scar – yet as the master shall
The servant be.
And pierced are the feet that follow me.
But thine are whole. Tell me, Jack, Could he have followed
Very far who hath no wound, no ugly scar?”
The apostle Paul wrote concerning affliction and scars. “And not only so for we glory in tribulations also; knowing that tribulations worketh patience; and patience, experience and experience, hope” (Romans 5:3-4). Peter echoes these words of wisdom by saying “Wherein we greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations; that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (I Peter 1:6-7). The hotter the fire, the purer the gold.
What seems to be wrong with our corrupt, defiled and degenerate world? People have forgotten the scars. Just remember the battles you have fought, the wounds you have received and the scars that bear witness of your life. Some of you reading these words may be in the middle of the most severe struggle you have ever faced. Remember. “He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. He was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities. . . and the Lord has laid upon him the iniquities of us all” (Isaiah 53).
Remembering the scars will make a profound difference in the way we see ourselves, others and the one we follow who has scars on his hands, feet and side.
“No scar, no wound, yet as the master shall the servant be. But pierced are the feet that follow me . . . but thine are whole. Tell me Jack; could he have followed very far, who hath no wound, no ugly scar?