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Pain and Scars

I was at a church conference a week or two back, and man, was it awesome! So inspiring, uplifting, humbling, convicting, tear-inducing, worshipful---yeah, awesome!I'm speaking at church soon about what I learned, and I thought I'd share with you, too. This is just one of the things that tugged at me that week...

A gynecologist learned how many babies were dying each year from poor prenatal care in {some country, sorry, forgot}, and decided to move there with his family and start a medical care center. They hoped to be able to practice even 1950's-era medicine in this remote area, which would greatly improve the infant and mother survival rate. They were blessed with 1980's-era medicine and equipment. This doctor went from 21st-century gynecology to a 1980s-style practice in a remote area of a third-world country.

The particular story he chose to share was incredibly powerful. The wife of one of his clinic workers, who lived in a village outside of town, came in to see the doctor. She was quite ill. A quick examination proved the doctor's worst fears: stage 4 cervical cancer. Indeed, he even called the new doctor from Sweden, who was there working with him, to show her exactly what Stage 4 cervical cancer looked like in textbook form. There was nothing to be done, he knew, aside from comfort measures. He sent her back to the village with medicines and told her to come back in a month, if she made it until then. He prayed for her, that God would reveal Himself to her before she died, that he might see her in Heaven.

She came back in a month, and the doctor did his check-up. But there must have been some mistake! This must not be the same patient! There was no more cancer... only a small lesion that is typical of how cervical cancer starts. This doctor was so amazed that he called the Swedish doctor over for a look...she agreed, we must have the wrong patient. The cancer had regressed to how it started. There was only scarring and this lesion left to indicate that this was, indeed, the right patient. The doctor still didn't believe it, and gave her more pain medication and told her to come back in another month.

Another month later, she came back again, and there was not even the small lesion. The patient was one hundred percent back to normal health and vitality. Nothing remained of the stage 4 cancer but scarring.

This is astonishing to me for a number of reasons:
1.) The doctor didn't even think of a miracle. It didn't even cross his mind. He prayed for her heart to be right with God. How many times do we not even think of a miracle being an option?
2.) I find it very interesting to think of God making sure to show that one little lesion before he completely cured the woman. It just shows that God was letting them know, "This is the same patient. This isn't because I'm not big enough to cure her cancer at once. This is just to help you believe."
3.) Most importantly, and most humbling, God allowed the scars to remain. He kept those scars as a testimony to His work. 

God allows the scars to remain, sometimes, as a testimony to His work. Sure, absolutely, had He chosen to, He could have healed her without any scars. But the testimony is so much more valid in our proof-demanding society. Stage 4 cancer and 1980s-era medicine in a third-world country? There's no way this woman could be healed. But she has the scars, and now the faith, to prove it. She has the mark of God's hand on her.

We all have our scars. Be they emotional scars or physical ones, as long as the Great Physician has attended us, we can rest assured that our scars add to our testimony. Our scars show the depths God pursues us, into those terrifyingly dark corners and times in our lives. But we do not boast about the scars, or the pain that left them; we boast about the testimony they bring to our lives: that our God saves, redeems, cleans, heals, makes whole, and yes, performs miracles.

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