Scars

Scar tissue.

It was the summer of 2008, and I was having a heated conversation in my pastor’s office, with both him and my father. A month or so before, my dad had announced to the family that he would be taking a position with AWANA clubs International and sometime soon we would all be moving. I really had a hard time adjusting to the idea, and had begun to let my attitude reflect what was going on in my mind and heart. I had grown angry, defiant, and was just waiting for the right moment to blow up.

Both my dad and pastor saw this, and this particular afternoon they were making an impassioned plea for me to trust God and those He had put around me that loved me dearly. In my anger and defiance I looked at my pastor and told him “I don’t want His protection. I don’t want your protection. This is MY life and you’re all ruining it.” In that moment, I meant it with every ounce of my being… My pastor looked at me with a deep sadness and pain and responded much like this: “Kevin, one of these days you’ll make a decision and God will let you live with the consequences forever. It’s like scar tissue. The pain will go away, but there will always be a scar. A mark to remind you of the time you disobeyed God’s authority in your life. “

 

That night, the baseball team I played on was facing yet another loss. Being the oldest kid on the team, I took the role of being a leader very seriously and pushed myself to provide the heroics that I imagined they needed.  Late in the game I hit a fly ball to the right fielder… An easy out. I got to first and out of the corner of my eye, I saw the fielder drop the ball! My first base coach shouted triumphantly, and told me to stay. I looked at the fielder and the ball and then decided I knew better. I took off for second base. I shortly arrived at second, and immediately after, saw the ill-advised throw from the already maligned right-fielder scream past the shortstop covering the bag. I turned and saw my Head Coach, standing at third base telling me to stay. I didn’t even hesitate this time and took off for third. Yet again, I made it!  It’s a good thing I knew better than my coaches! How could he doubt me? I knew I could do it!

That’s exactly how I viewed the situation with my family moving. God, however well-intending He could claim to be, was over-stepping His bounds! I had everything figured out and could do it on my own! He was doubting me (a shot at my pride) and was denying me of something I viewed to be great!

Luckily for me, the play in my baseball game did not end there.

The shortstop threw the ball to third base in a desperate attempt to get me. And the third baseman dropped the ball! My coach, immediately sensing my intentions shouted “Kevin, no!” The ball stopped a few feet from third, and the gears started turning.

It would be close, and my coach clearly had told me not to, but I knew I could make it.

So in the ultimate act of defiance, I sprinted for home. I was two-thirds of the way there when the ball landed squarely in the catcher’s mitt, as he stood guarding home. My heart sunk as I realized that I was caught in a rundown… A nightmare for base runners. For a few panicked seconds I darted back and forth… Running towards third to see the ball beat me there, turning around only for the ball to beat me back at home. As I felt the fatigue wearing in, I turned and made one last effort to make it back to third base. I stretched out my left hand and moments before the ball got there, touched the base. Only a second later, as the third baseman caught the ball, he jumped into the air, landing with his metal cleats squarely on my hand. I laid on the dirt for a few seconds clutching my hand. His spikes had landed squarely on the middle knuckle of each of my fingers. I stood up and looked at my coach, who didn’t have much to say. I had ignored his wisdom, and had returned to where I had once stood with him before, with the wounds to show for me foolishness.

God had allowed me to experience the consequences of my choices, and had allowed me to return with a reminder to trust Him.

After the game I sat in the back of my family’s car examining my hand. Each of the knuckles was bleeding, and would eventually scab over. As I recalled my pastor’s words that morning I looked up  at my hand and said to myself: “Scar tissue.”

That was nearly 8 years ago… But the lesson has never been forgotten. We often attempt to take our world and lives into our hands. In pride we try to do things on our own and keep from admitting our desperate need for God.

We fail to realize that the weight of the world is too much for our frail shoulders to hold up. So we suffer under that burden until we see our need of God’s guidance and strength.

Every now and then, when we ignore God and try to take things into our hands, he allows us to experience the consequences of it. And though the pain will subside, the scars will never go away. I’m sure it is my imagination, but I still see the scars on my left hand.  A lasting reminder to trust God’s leading and to admit that I don’t know better than the Lord of the Universe.”

Some scars never go away…

But maybe that’s the way it was meant to be.

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