Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Scars Remain

I have to confess that upon my return from my recent trip to Cambodia I was a little depressed. It was not due to any problems that we’re facing with this ministry but rather the nature of our work. Let me explain.

I know a woman whose face was horribly burned in a car wreck. She and her husband were on their way to a Christian retreat when they were t-boned by a car. She was ejected from the vehicle, covered with gasoline, and lit afire as a human torch. By the time her rescuers got to her the damage was done.

I’ve seen photos of her when she was hospitalized. The doctors said that most people with such severe burns do not survive. She did. And though her wounds have healed, the scars remain.

She also has shown me photos of what she looked like before the accident. She was beautiful. She remarks, “It’s as if that girl died in the wreck.” And in a sense, she did.

When I think about the damage done to our girls’ lives, I get discouraged. We cannot restore their innocence. We cannot undo the physical toll abuse has taken on their bodies. We cannot return what they’ve lost. Like my friend, their wounds may heal; but their scars will remain. That bothers me.

God is teaching me something in all this. (I have to confess that I can be a slow and reluctant learner.) He is teaching me something important about His grace, these girls and myself. Even God cannot turn back the clock and have the world the way it once was. There was a time in creation when beauty was unmarred and innocence was not lost. But not anymore. That world exists no longer. We all have been wounded, some more profoundly than others. So we now live in a place where the best that He offers is the grace of redemption and healing. But even then the scars remain.

I have one last confession. I long deeply for a different world. I long for a place of complete restoration. I want to live in a world without scars. And one day, I will. I pray that each of our girls will find their way to that place, too. I want them to know unspoiled beauty—a beauty that no predator or circumstance can steal. But for now, the best that we can do is to help their wounds to heal and free their beauty within, yet the scars remain.

"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
—Revelation 21:4