Scars (by Len Winneroski)

UnknownDavid said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.” Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.” But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you.” – 1 Samuel 17:32-37

Few stories are as inspiring as David and Goliath. The Israelite army and their king who “stood head and shoulders above anyone else” (1 Samuel 10:23) faced down a Philistine army and a giant named Goliath for 40 days. The Israelite army was frozen with fear until a young boy named David came along and showed the king how to lead.

David realized that the Israelite army was caught in the mouth of a lion and that he had been in this situation before. Unlike the king, he was a shepherd who was willing to risk his life to save his sheep. The Bible says that he even chased down lions and a bears that tried to steal his sheep and grabbed them by the hair and killed them. Now lets get real. I love my little Westie, Bella, with all my heart but I’m pretty sure that I would not be willing to grab a bear or a lion by the hair and fight it with my bare hands to save her.

When I was discussing this story with a friend he asked a really good question that caused me to pause and reflect. He asked, “Do you think that the lion left a few deep wounds on the body of that boy before he subdued it?” The Bible does not tell us if David earned any scars from his encounters wrestling bears and lions, but I would not be surprised if God allowed David to get a few scars along the way. Scars are a physical record of our past and are reminders that life is fragile. Even Jesus has scars. When Jesus appeared to His disciples after His resurrection he told Thomas to examine His hands and side to prove that He was real (John 20:27). Jesus’ scars will be celebrated for eternity by the redeemed.

We all have scars. Some are visible and some are not. In his book Barefoot Christianity, my friend, Ricky Maye, says scars are part of “the real you. The you with all the cracks, scratches and bandages. If you can’t love that you then you can’t love God and others.” If David had any scars from his encounters with the lions and bears in his life, I’m sure that he was not ashamed of them. David could face down a giant because he knew that God would go with him. He knew that facing a giant takes courage but that slaying a giant takes God.

David was just an ordinary weakling like you and me. He was a teenager who took care of his father’s sheep. So how about it? Are there any lions or bears threatening those under your protection? Is there a blasphemous giant in your life that need to be silenced? Trust God and lean into your faith like David did. You might get a few scars along the way but love is worth it.

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