I was a young father back in the 80's. Too young. But I worked hard to provide for my family. Still, I couldn’t make ends meet. Many times, I didn’t have money to pay utility bills and would hold garage sales – selling perfectly good furniture in order to buy formula for my daughter.
Then I heard about a plasma center in town, where I could sell my white blood cells for cash. I decided to give it a try.
Although painful, it was easy money and I realized I could easily pay for diapers this way. Twice a week I returned to the clinic, collected my pay and brought home a pack of diapers. Each time, the thick needles were pushed into my veins. I didn’t mind, it was a small price to pay to provide for my family.
Although it was tiring and hard to fit into my schedule, I continued to sell plasma to supplement our income. But honestly, I looked forward to the day when I might be able to quit.
That day was slow to arrive. Life’s circumstances kept me tied to this method of support. Things like new tires for the car or an unexpected house repair, getting laid off work and even the blessing of a second child.
For another three years, I continued the procedure. The scar tissue became painful as layer after layer of broken skin healed over the same spot. Some nights I lost sleep as sharp stabbing sensations radiated in the pitted areas, causing me to wince.
Often I rubbed aloe or lotion on the large holes, but it was no use – they were permanent. In the evenings my children crawled onto my lap, absent-mindedly running their hands over the cavities on my arm as I read stories to them.
I remember glancing down at their tiny fingers as they traced the holes on the inside of my elbows. My kids didn’t understand what those were, but in the immaturity of my youth I sometimes felt used, even taken advantage of. I smile about it now. These areas on my arms have now become a beautiful reminder of my endearing love for my kids. They are sweet scars. I wouldn’t trade them.
There is a story of another Man with scars. In the Gospel of John, chapter 20, we read how Jesus revealed His scars to Thomas, proving what He endured. Today, those scars remain a symbol of the Father’s provision for me. They remind me I am cleansed of my filthy rags, my nasty diapers.
I am grateful when I read “But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed,” Isaiah 53:5 (NLT).
Those are sweet scars Christ bears, yet I wonder how often I take them for granted. I want to learn to love those blemishes and fully understand the grace they bring to me. Then maybe one day – on the other side of eternity – I will crawl onto His lap, look into His face, and with grateful purpose, trace my fingers around those scars.
To those dads who bear scars on your bodies, or more likely, your hearts – may you proudly wear those with humility and gratefulness, for what He’s brought you through.