When I casually mention I have been in an accident, people automatically assume I am talking about a car accident. I understand why people would think that. However, my scars aren’t from a car accident. They are from a lion attack.
It happened while I was in South Africa on vacation a decade ago. We were touring a game ranch where the owners had raised lions. I was having my picture taken with a teenage lion when I was jumped from behind by another teenage lion and became a toy.
Eventually we got out of the pen. The paramedics arrived with drugs to knock me out. I was transported to the hospital in the back of a helicopter. I woke up that night in ICU, bandages on every limb and with full knowledge of what had happened.
I was 10,000 miles from home and only a co-worker and her family were with me. In so in many aspects, I was alone. But I wasn’t “alone” alone. God was with me. He heard and responded to my call for help. The attack stopped only after I called out to Him, “God! Jesus, save me!”
God was with me through the kind and loving faces of all of my visitors. A pastor from the community visited several times. A man who came to the hospital every day to pray with the patients visited me daily and gave me a Bible. My nurses opened it to different passages for me to read. Family and friends called from home. Nurses and staff who weren’t assigned to me visited regularly. A fellow patient hobbled to my room. My co-worker and her family visited when they could. The life flight staff visited. My nurses would come into my room with a cheerful, “Hello my darling! How are you feeling?”
Had I not known our Lord, I could have lamented the demise of my vacation, the fact that I was alone in foreign country, and I could have railed against the lion and what she did to my body.
Except I know Him. He protected my body even though it is scarred and missing a couple chunks of non-essential flesh. Of course they are essential as God obviously intended for those pieces of flesh to be there! But since I have no physical limitations and with clothes on, you would never know that this had happened to me, I can deem those chunks to be “non-essential.”
God does not promise us a perfect body or an easy life. Sometimes I expect that since I know Him, I won’t suffer because He loves me. But I know that this is not how God works. The Bible has story after story about how God’s people suffered.
God also tells us that there is a purpose in difficulty. There is a purpose to the attack and the scars. Do I wish that my body was back to the way it was before the lion? There were times back then when my answer would have been a yes. But now, no.
I glory in my scars because they are a sign to me and to everyone who sees them of God’s saving love. He saved me from the mouth of a lion. I called out to Him and He saved me. And because of Him, my scarred body is whole. My traumatized mind is whole. So in that light, my body is perfect just the way it is. Praises to our God!
“The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:16-18