The jagged scar on his back may be gruesome to some; probably most. To me, it is a mark of beauty. It is a reminder of what he gave that day.
It was suppose to be a day of wonderful family memories. My husband’s family had traveled a thousand miles to be together again. In the foothills of South Carolina, bon fires, streams and horseshoes were the only things calling for our attention.
The highlight of our trip would be a day at Slippery Rock, a natural water slide in the cool Pisgah forest. However, under the guidance of a “local” we changed our plans to a waterfall that was said to be more secluded less crowded; safer even.
Anxious to see the natural wonder, we headed down the steep pathway. When we reached the waterfall, it wasn’t quite what we had expected. Unprotected. Steeper. Less water movement. There was no lifeguard; no stairs, no rope. We were definitely disappointed, but vowed to make the best of it. The youngest slipped out of their shorts and ran to the top.
Greg watched as the kids started down the steep slope. Sensing everything was not as smooth as it seemed, he called to our nine-year-old, “Wait for me, we’ll go together”.
The laughter and squeals brought joy to my heart as I saw others enjoying themselves through my camera’s view finder. Wanting to catch their expressions, I looked down to adjust my zoom and get a closer look. When I looked up, I caught his eye. Something was wrong; fear was written there. I pulled the camera away just in time to witness Greg sticking out his leg, stopping his precious cargo from slamming her head into the rock wall. They spun around causing Greg’s bare back to careen into the stone instead.
I couldn’t understand; what just happened? Why was he asking his dad for his towel? Why did he tell me to stay back; to sit down?
The day ended then with a trip to the emergency Room. His four inch gash on his back looked like the football laces he was so familiar with in high school and was evidence that he saved our daughter. Today, it is a thickened red scar; one he never sees, but proof to me of his love for his family. I see it and think what a man.
My First Love bares a similar scar. It may be thickened and red as well, only this time I am the one who never sees it. I know it is there though. I was young; naive and making choices to go where I wanted; to choose the course with no stairs, no rope, no lifeguard. I wanted to “live a little”. I had gone down a slippery slope, one marked ‘Do Not Enter”, yet I thought I knew better. Just in time, before I smashed myself against the rock of this tainted world, He stepped in and rescued me. He said, “Come to Me, let me get you out of harm’s way”. I fell into His accepting arms. The relationship ended; I was safe once more.
Others don’t want to be helped. “I got it; I can do it by myself”. They are oblivious to the rushing power of sin which will smash them against the hard stone wall of this world, possibly bringing all of their precious cargo to a fateful end. “I can flirt with this sin; it won’t hurt anyone. I just want a little fun for a change!” or “I’m tired of being responsible and always looking out for others. It’s my turn. My kids will bounce back.” “I don’t have to put up with him anymore. It’s my life too”. I’ve heard all the lines, seen the destruction that follows. It tears my heart in two, knowing that all along He is there, at the top of the cliff saying, “Wait. Let me lead you.”
To some, He is a “turn off”; they don’t know what I see in Jesus. They think they understand. Their impression of God is simply one who says “Do Not Enter” to the fun of this world. They’ve missed the Man. They’ve miss the strength that attracts me. They’ve missed the scars that are proof that His love held Him to that gnarly cross when His mind and body screamed out. I see the price He paid to protect me from my own destruction. I see all that attracts me to Him. All I can say is “Oh, the beauty of this Man”.
Dear Lord, Every day, help me to look to You. Help me to trust Your instructions and warnings, knowing that you love me more than I love myself. You are my first love. Your are my Man. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.