The Scars of Heaven

Glory has glimpses of the suffering that preceded it, but those ‘deep wounds yet visible above’ are now ‘in beauty glorified’.

The scars I bear in my body, my mind, my soul, the adversities and setbacks, the pains that may yet await me before I get to heaven, the relational wounds, the memories from which I struggle to recover, the darkness of doubt and the battles with unbelief, will not necessarily be removed when I get to heaven, but they will be redeemed, they will be transformed by the long view that being perfected in the presence of my perfect God will bring.

 

A friend recently recounted a conversation with his precocious 10 year old. Their child had sustained an injury some years ago which means that they now have an obvious scar, and the subject of how this makes them feel regularly surfaces. On this particular occasion the conversation turned to the dividing line in their life between before and after,

‘I sometimes think about my life before the accident, when I didn’t have a scar, but now I do. It feels so different and I wish I could go back.’

My friend felt the weight of these words heavily, but from a clear blue sky he spoke a thought which he hadn’t previously worked through fully,

‘Just think of the Lord Jesus. He was born with no scars, and yet he got so many before his death and during his time on the cross. He has even taken those scars with him back to heaven, they’re now part of who he is.’

This thought intrigued the little one with the big burden to bear,

‘Do you think I’ll have my scar in my resurrection body Daddy?’

He responded, again surprising himself with his own words,

‘I don’t know, but if you do it will be a mark of God’s grace and help to you through this; it will be a sight which speaks joy rather than sadness, and you’ll know that that kind of accident will never happen again.’

I have been mulling those words over ever since, thinking through what we naturally do with the idea of a glorified body, with the cessation of pain, with the hope of a better Day in heaven. I have been wondering if our view of glory might be too simplistic, if our perspective on where pain fits in the Final State of perfect blessedness might be too narrow, and if we might be missing out on some of the pastoral import of the fact that we have a glorious Saviour in heaven, who yet bears the marks of being marred in his human life.

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