As if almost in an instant, their worlds were turned upside down. Super storm Sandy tore through the suburbs and cities of the U.S. eastern coast leaving devastation and destruction in its path. Even the warnings given could not prevent the event from happening, but could only hope to prepare some in advance for what was about to come. With more than 100 people losing their lives, the repercussions of such an event will continue to bare their scars long into the future.
It reminds me of the terrible floods we experienced here in Queensland, Australia in the Summer of 2010/11. Long after the headlines faded away, there are still scars to be seen and hearts needing healing.
In his song ‘Battle-scars’, Guy Sebastian sings, ‘these battle-scars don’t look like they’re fading, don’t look like they’re ever going away’. There are many days that are going to feel this way – the circumstances are real and the pain is real. But our God is real too.
Unfortunately life isn’t cruisy-smooth. In John chapter 16 verse 33 Jesus says, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Psalms chapter 23 verse 4 doesn’t say, ‘Even though I hop, skip and jump around the valley of the shadow of death…’, it says ‘Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.’
You are with me! The Bible repeats it over and over again:
‘The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you,’ (Deuteronomy chapter 31 verse 8).
‘And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age,’ (Matthew chapter 28 verse 20).
‘So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand,’ (Isaiah chapter 41 verse 10).
When Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were summoned by the king for not bowing down to the image of gold, they had to walk through the furnace, but the Angel of the Lord was with them, and God was glorified.
He doesn’t stand by watching us go through difficulties, he stands beside us and goes through them with us. Isaiah chapter 63 verse 9 says, ‘In all their distress he too was distressed, and the angel of his presence saved them.’
He feels our pain, he shares our broken hearts but he doesn’t always take us out of the situation, because He knows better. He knows the outcome has a purpose, that we will learn lessons and become closer to being like Jesus.
Jesus has his own battle-scars. He wears them on his hands even into eternity because his scars are beautiful to him and they come with the message, ‘see how much I love you!’
Jesus says to us, ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest,’ (Matthew chapter 11 verse 28).
Then when we do, he covers us with his feathers and shelters us with his wings (Psalm chapter 91 verse 4) and says, “I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands,” (Isaiah chapter 49 verses 15-16).
Oh, how he loves us!
First published Christian Today Australia 19 November 2012 http://www.christiantoday.com.au/article/super.storm.sandys.battle.scars/14452.htm