Trophies of Love

He didn’t give in to self pity very often – but every once in a while, it would sneak up on him and he’d be crushed under the weight of it.  Tonight was one of those “once in a whiles.”

He lay in bed, pretending to be asleep, until he could hear his wife’s breathing even out and he slipped out of bed and went down to the sun-room, where he could see the heavens laid out before him and talk to God.

As he sat down, the face of the little girl this evening seemed to burn itself into his heart and mind…

“Mommy!” she cried, “what is wrong with that man’s face? Is he a monster?”  As she spoke, he automatically felt his hand go up to hide his cheek and the grotesque twisted mass of skin that seemed so frightening to her.

Sitting in the dark, he did it again – he ran his fingers along the scars that ran from forehead to just below his cheek bone.  The skin did feel monstrous.

He put his head down into his hands and began to weep.  How long would this take before he became used to this face?  How long would it take until the mess that peered back at him from his mirror wasn’t repulsive to him?  “Why ME, God?”

As he sat there, with tears flowing, he remembered.  He remembered the screams.  He remembered the smells. He remembered the darkness and the piercing light.  He remembered the heat and the sound of the consuming fire. He remembered dragging people out of the twisted metal.  He remembered people telling him he should get medical help himself, instead of carrying them out.  He remembered thinking he was a doctor, he needed to help others first.  He remembered how closely he had come to NOT being on that flight.  He remembered all of that night, with great clarity – almost too much clarity.

Just then, he heard her footsteps.  He could hear her pause in the doorway.  Her perfume seemed to move in front of her as she crossed the room and sat down in front of him.  She lifted his head, and in the dark, she ran her finger along the scar.  She leaned over and kissed it gently.

“Don’t you dare,” her voice intense, but so soft he could barely hear her, “don’t you dare feel sorry for yourself.  Yes, you have scars on your face.  But, because of you, there are many families who don’t have scars on their lives. You saved people that night.  God put you on that plane, so that you could help people get out, before it exploded.”

“Each one of these scars is a precious memory to me of what you did for those other families.  Each one of these scars is a memorial to the lives you saved.  Each one of these scars is a reminder that you had the incredible privilege of being used by the Most High God to save lives. You, sweetheart, are a walking emblem revealing the love the Father has for His children – that He would allow you to miss one flight, only to be on the next where He used you to save so many lives…”

“So, don’t you dare diminish what those scars say! Don’t you let the enemy convince you that they make you into anything less than a hero.  When I see them,” and she began to gently rub them, “I see the man I love who almost gave up his own life for others.  I see how blessed I am to have him with me tonight.  I see that God protected you, as well as used you to protect.  I delight in looking at them, because to me, they are trophies of love.”

He leaned into her hand.  It’s amazing how beautiful those scars seemed, now that he’d seen them with new eyes.

************************************************************************************

This story came flooding into my heart and mind this morning, as I was sharing with someone what the Lord imparted to my heart yesterday.  I was reading in Isaiah, the 49th chapter, verses 15 & 16:

“Can a woman forget her nursing child And have no compassion on the son of her womb?
Even these may forget, but I will not forget you.
“Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands;”

As I read that, for the first time, I realized that the Lord could easily heal those scars on Jesus’ hands.  But, instead, Jesus CHOOSES to keep them.  Both He and Father look upon them and see them as trophies.  Trophies to honor all that Jesus did to redeem us from the curse.  Trophies to mark the greatness of His love for us. Trophies of love.

Just as I could see the wife gently running her fingers across the man’s face above, I could see Jesus running His finger over the scars remembering…remembering and anticipating us.  Anticipating having us, His Bride, finally with Him.  And when we arrive, I expect that we too will want to run our fingers over His scars, so that we can honor His incredible sacrifice of love.

Have a blessed Sabbath, my friends, may you end it more aware than when you entered it, of the incredible love that our Lord has for you.

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