War Wounds and Battle Scars

Isa 49:16 Behold, I have carved you on the palms of My hands;


I like to read historical novels, many of which contain accounts of wars and battles. (I don’t really like to read about wars and battles but unfortunately the world’s history is full of them). Often, there are characters who are described as “rugged” and “tough” and covered with various war wounds and battle scars. These wounds and scars are usually depicted as “badges of honour” earned in battle. The men wore them with pride.

When my son was a young teenager, he tripped and fell headlong through a glass door, impaling his arms on the jagged glass. I praise God that his chest, neck and face were uninjured and no major blood vessels were severed. However, there was extensive damage to the back of his upper arms, requiring over 80 stitches to close the wounds. A number of wounds had chunks of tissue missing so that the edges of the wounds were not able to be sewn together neatly.

His injuries left several large and messy scars and I was feeling very badly for him. I asked him if the scars made him feel very self-conscious. He just laughed and said, “No. They make for a great story at school!” LOL!

Both my sons carry a wide variety of scars gained in both play and work. My husband is both somewhat amused and bemused by the tales they tell when recalling the incidents which led to receiving the injuries. They tell them with some amusement and pride. I just recall the stress of many visits to the Emergency Department!

I too, carry scars on my body. I am probably of the last generation to bear the scar on my arm from the smallpox vaccination I received as an infant. I have scars on my face from impetigo and repeated cold-sore infections. My legs bear some scars from youthful shaving attempts. But my worst “physical” scars are on my abdomen. Two pregnancies have left a veritable spider web of shiny stretch marks across my abdomen. I have also had three major abdominal surgeries which have left scars which criss-cross my belly like highways on a road map.

Maybe it is being female, or extremely self-conscious, or both, but I am not “proud” of my scars and I certainly don’t like to display them!

When I re-married, I was ashamed of my scars and really worried that my new husband would find my abdominal scars to be unsightly, unattractive and definitely not sexy! When I shared my fears with him, he brought me to tears when he gently kissed them and then told me that to him, the scars represented the battles that I had been through and won. They represented some of the tough situations that I had lived through and that I was all the more precious to him because of what I had been through. He said that my scars are part of my life story and that he admires the woman that I am, in spite of, and maybe in part, due to those scars.

WOW! How can you not love a man like that?!

I also bear scars from wounds that were not physical, but rather emotional. My father leaving; my mother’s despair and depression; my own mental health battles; my first husband leaving. All have left deep, emotional scars that people can’t see and I don’t really want them to know about.

I think that it is these emotional scars which have had more influence on my life than the events which caused my physical scars.

The good news is that all my scars, be they emotional or physical, do not affect how my Heavenly Father sees me or loves me. He loved me so much that he sent his only son, Jesus, to die for me. In fact, Jesus bore horrific wounds in his back, head, hands and feet that led to scars, for me, so that I could lay aside my emotional and spiritual wounds and be healed, delivered and saved.

Isa 53:5 But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was on Him; and with His stripes we ourselves are healed. 

My scars tell the story of what I’ve been – flawed, damaged, wounded, shamed, sick. Jesus’ scars tell the story of what I have become – saved, hopeful, made perfect, healed, delivered, beautiful.

Trade your scars for Jesus’ scars and you will have a wonderful story to tell.


1 Have you failed in your plan of your storm-tossed life?
Place you hand in the nail-scarred hand;
Are you weary and worn from its toil and strife?
Place your hand in the nail-scarred hand.
Place your hand in the nail-scarred hand,
Place your hand in the nail-scarred hand;
He will keep to the end, He’s your dearest friend,
Place your hand in the nail-scarred hand.
2 Are you walking alone through the shadows dim?
Place your hand in the nail-scarred hand;
Christ will comfort your heart, put your trust in Him.
Place your hand in the nail-scarred hand. [Chorus]
3 Would you follow the will of the risen Lord?
Place your hand in the nail-scarred hand;
Would you live in the light of His blessed Word?
Place your hand in the nail-scarred hand. [Chorus]
4 Is your soul burdened down with its load of sin?
Place your hand in the nail-scarred hand;
Throw your heart open wide, let the Savior in.
Place your hand in the nail-scarred hand. [Chorus]

B.B. McKinney