Have any scars? Of course you do. Some might be physical, but we all carry scars of relationships, unmet expectations, and the effects of our sin with us.

I’ve had a pretty crazy few years. In the midst of that I’ve come to understand the power of vulnerability and the power of community in a new way. I’ve also learned about the power of scars from long-suffering. Those are the scars built over navigating hard things. Some times it’s immediate, other times those things last a lifetime.

Some are self-inflicted, like the one I have on my knee from a careless childhood injury. Some are not, but they land on you anyway. Those usually are not cosmetic; they run deep into your soul and are supremely personal.

Recently I was spending time with a close friend whose world has been shaken by some hard news. One of the reasons I am able to walk through this with him is that I have scars I didn’t have a few years ago. Not proud of them, but God has used them as a key to open a door of empathy and care not only between him and me, but  also with those He allows me to come in contact with.

I once heard someone say that scars are beautiful. I thought that speaker was crazy. Now I get what he was saying. God has a way of taking our messes and mistakes and using them in ways that only makes sense in His divine story.

The hard part of scars though is that they can redefine who we are. We might even think that our scars define us. They might mark you, but they should not define us. That alone should come from your relationship with the One who can use the scars in amazing ways.

After 20 years of relational ministry, I am very aware that God can take our scars and use them—not only in our stories, but to help others redeem theirs. He’s good that way.

So I have to ask, what are your scars? Is it possible that He could use them as a key to a door you never imagined that leads you and others into a deeper relationship with Him? I think so.

Scratch that. I know so, because I have the scars to prove it.