On the top of my left foot is a nasty gash I received courtesy of a mishap with my car door. The incident occurred nearly two weeks ago but the cut isn't healing. It is doing quite the opposite - expanding in size and growing in ugliness. Time heals all wounds unless they are infected, which I'm convinced my foot laceration most certainly is. The low-grade pain, yellow pus and bright red bruising are making for a pathetic story to accompany what I fear may be a life-long scar.
In recent days I've been avoiding eye contact with my cut so I've been wearing socks as much as possible. I've opted for sneakers over sandals to remain in blissful ignorance over the condition of my injury. Then the temperature began to soar out of the eighties and into the nineties and my feet began begging for freedom; but I cringed at the thought of an unwanted face-to-foot encounter, revealing my unsightly wound.
When I finally did remove my sock I took a look at my scar. The ring around the cut was redder than I had remembered. Air hit the open wound and a sharp pain ensued. Immediately I wanted to put my socks back on and forget about the wound. At least the pressure of socks and shoes minimized the pain. But my feet needed relief from the unbearable heat. In a few minutes the acute pain subsided. The cut was still unsightly but at least my toes were cool and free.
A few sock-less hours later the cut on my left foot felt remarkably better. The pain subsided and even the redness was reduced. I was able to look at my scar and refrain from cringing. Something in the freedom and fresh air was helping my foot.
The simple and seemingly inconsequential act of sock removal taught me something about healing. Ignoring a cut or covering up a scar does more harm than good. This lesson is true of physical wounds but even more important for the heart. Burying suffering and hiding from scars doesn't produce restoration and healing for the soul. Scars that aren't given air, light and freedom fester and end up looking worse than a pus-filled laceration.
For the brokenness of a heart that has suffered pain, loss and disappointment to be restored the past hurts must be put out in the open, laid before Christ in unguarded complete surrender. Leave the socks and band-aids at the door. Our scars need the air and freedom that comes from being vulnerable and open in the healing arms of Christ.
As much as my foot needs healing I know that my heart needs it even more desperately. In the hidden places of my spirit I have hidden the pain of suffering from an illness no one can see and few can understand. The tender places of my soul long to be accepted and embraced for who I am, physical limitations and all. In an attempt to shield myself from further pain and discomfort I've done my best to cover up the heart scars inflicted by years of sickness and suffering.
But God wants me to take the sock off. There is healing for my pain and relief from my anguish if only I will give my scars air and let Christ bring them perfect healing. My scars are real and God sees them all. He isn't denying their existence or the suffering that has accompanied them. He knows the depth of my distress and He wants to make me well. He wants to cure what is infecting my spirit and heal what is wounding my soul.
It all starts with giving my heart air to breathe. It is so simple, so seemingly inconsequential that it is a wonder how that little act could make an impact on the state of my soul's well-being. But God is the Great Physician and in His medicine cabinet are the simple things, like air and freedom. The remedy for what ails me and the rejuvenation for my scar is found in the presence of Jesus' liberation. He has bought my healing, now all I need to do is step out into the open and receive His glorious restoration.