Scars: They Tell a Story

Scars - they testify to our previous battles while also displaying the healing powers of God. Scars have a way of highlighting our injuries and hurts, while covering some of our deepest pains. All scars tell a story.  Let me tell you one of the best examples of how God can use our scars to show Himself to others.  

On March 16, 2018, the unthinkable happened. A #16 seed had never beaten a #1 seed in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Never. Until now. The University of Maryland Baltimore County Retrievers did the unthinkable, winning against the University of Virginia Cavaliers 74-54. A day which will live in infamy among Wahoo fans. Can a simple basketball game leave a scar? You better believe it can.  

Fast forward one year into the future. Virginia is again, a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament after battling all year with the memories of the UMBC defeat. First up, the #16 seed Gardner-Webb Bulldogs from the Big South Conference. Virginia, commonly called the ‘Hoos, found themselves down 30-16 with 6 minutes left in the first half. The memories, struggles, defeats all came back. They were again reliving a nightmare. Could this be possible? Again?  

Virginia opened the second half with determination, turning a 6-point halftime deficit into a 15-point win. Whew!  

In the Quarterfinal game, Purdue guard Carsen Edwards shot 10 three-pointers from everywhere on the court. At one time, Coach Tony Bennet had 3 players guarding him. (Go back and look - I’ll wait) Down by 3 with 5.9 seconds left, Ty Jerome was sent to the free throw line to shoot two foul shots. After making the first, he missed the second. The ball tapped back to half-court, was then retrieved by Kihei Clark, who made a bullet 30-foot pass to Mamadi Diakite. In stride, Diakete hit the shot with no time left to send the game to Overtime. In Overtime, Virginia took control and won 80-75. 

Though it has not been medically authenticated, my heart stopped for 2 minutes in Overtime.  Then started again.  

In the “Final 4,” Virginia played Auburn.  Down by 2 with time running out, Kyle Guy was fouled. (Yes, he was.  Go look...I’ll wait again.) He calmly sank 3 free throws which propelled Virginia to a 63-62 win.  

By now, every Virginia fan knew the final game would be a battle playing Texas Tech. Down 3, with 15 seconds to go Guy drove in for a layup. (“A 2? We’re down 3!” was heard if you were driving past the preacher’s house!).  At the last moment, Guy spotted De’Andre (his friends call him Dre, so I’ll call him De’Andre) open on the wing. With 12.9 seconds left, Hunter let it go. “Swish!” Virginia took control during the 5-minute Overtime period, and went on to win, 85-77. National Champions! 

After the game, Tony Bennet stated, on national TV, “You have scars, right? You have a scar, and it reminds you of that, but it’s a memory. Does it go away completely? No, wish it wouldn’t have happened in some ways. Now, I say, ‘Well, it bought us a ticket here. So be it.’ ”  

Mentioning the Christian music singer Tauren Wells’s song, “Hills and Valleys” in a post-game interview, Bennet said, “It just means that you’re never alone in the hills or the valleys. And we’ve faced those from last year to this year, but the credit goes to these young men. And I can’t wait to celebrate with my wife and kids and parents. I do want to thank the Lord and my Savior.”  

Through painful examples, scars teach lessons which we will appreciate as our life advances. You have scars - either mental, emotional, physical, or spiritual. I have them, too. Looking forward to Christ, the prophet Isaiah reminds, “And by His stripes, we were healed.” John adds, “He showed them His hands and His side.” When He showed them, what? His scars!  

Scars are important to life. Scars tell a story. Scars point us to Jesus. Bennet went on to mention the group, “I Am They” and their song, “Scars.” Its lyrics read, “So I’m thankful for the scars, ‘cause without them I wouldn’t know Your heart.  And I know they’ll always tell of who You are, so forever I am thankful for the scars.”  

Remember the importance of scars - they are bridges to an opportunity to share Christ. Share Christ and share the story of your scar with the world - there’s no telling “Hoo” may be listening.  (See what I did there?) 

Dr. Jeff Johnson