Some years ago on a hot summer day in south Florida, a little boy decided to go for a swim in the old swimming hole behind his house. In a hurry to dive into the cool water, he ran out the back door, leaving behind shoes, socks, and shirt along the way. He hit the water, not realizing that as he swam toward the middle of the lake, an alligator was swimming toward him.
His mother happened to glance out the window of the house and saw the two as they got closer and closer together. In a panic, she ran toward the water yelling to her son as loudly as she could. Hearing her voice, the little boy became alarmed, turned about and began swimming back to shore. Just as his mother leaned down from the dock and grabbed his arms, the alligator reached him and snatched his legs. This began an incredible tug-of-war between the two with boy in the middle. Even though the alligator was much stronger, but the mother was much too passionate to let go.
Remarkably, a farmer happened to drive by, heard her screams, saw the struggle, grabbed his rifle, raced from his truck, and shot the alligator. The little boy survived, but spent many weeks in the hospital and required several surgeries to repair the damage caused by the vicious attack, which left his legs horribly scarred.
Whenever the boy was asked to show his scars, he dutifully lifted his pants legs, but he always showed the scars on his arms also. Years later, after numerous cosmetic surgeries minimized the scars on his legs, he still refused to cover the scars on his arms. He proudly bore these scars as a reminder of his mother's love, a love that refused to let him go.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians that “I bear on my body the marks of Jesus” (Gal 6:17), referring to literal scars he retained from being persecuted for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Many are also familiar with the story of Josh Hamilton, the Texas Ranger star who sunk deep into the drug and alcohol culture, was suspended from baseball and estranged from his family when finally confronted by his godly grandmother. His grandmother's support triggered something within, and his faith in God brought him back from the brink of death. He returned to baseball and God is using him in a powerful way, speaking to overflowing audiences about his experiences and his faith. His body is covered by 26 tattoos of flames, demons, devils, crosses, the face of Jesus and even markings that he's not even sure of what they mean. He now refuses to remove these marks, proudly wearing them as a testimony of how God rescued him from a hopeless lifestyle.
All of us, have scars from this life, some physical, some emotional. All are caused by this fallen world, many the direct result of our own sin. The worst punishment that we can receive is for God to let go and abandon us to our sinful nature. As Christians, we can know for certain that God will never let us go. We may go through our prodigal experiences, but God, because of his great love and grace, will always pull us back whenever we confess and repent (1Jn 1:9).
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