As a 7-year-old I was riding my bike, playing with neighborhood kids, having a blast on a warm summer day. I was hard on my jeans and when the knees wore out or the jeans got too short, my mom would cut them off and I would wear them as shorts. I was wearing cut-offs, as we played that day, and one of the kids teased me about the birthmark on my left calf.

There is a saying “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” That is bull…oney. “Boloney!” We can heal much quicker physically from broken bones than we do emotionally from hurtful words said to us.

I was a very shy kid; often feeling isolated and lonely. Because of that one comment, I didn’t wear shorts for many years unless I absolutely had to. When I did wear shorts, such as at gym class or playing basketball or tennis, I would wear socks long enough to cover that birthmark up. This went on until college. Hiding my birthmark caused me to withdraw even further into my own shell.

I like my birthmark now; that is a story for another day. But now, I wouldn’t erase my birthmark even if I could. I consider it a free tattoo.

When I was in Israel this past January, one night after supper five of us went on a walk along the Sea of Galilee. There are some restaurants, a sandy beach and walking paths. One of the gals was picking up rocks as we walked. When we got back to the hotel, she said she was picking up heart-shaped rocks and she asked us if we wanted one. Honestly I was being nice, so I said sure. After I got back to the hotel room, I took the rock out of my pocket and looked at it. I thought, “Hmm, that is interesting.” I put the rock in my backpack to bring it home with me. I didn’t think about that rock much until I was working on a series of talks called “Dancing with the Scars.”

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Can I tell you what I found so interesting? If you hold that rock up to my birthmark it is almost a direct match! Is that a coincidence? Perhaps. Does it teach a powerful lesson? Yes, I believe it certainly does.

The very shores where Jesus healed so many people is where I found a rock that represents my scars. I believe that is what Jesus wants to do for you today. He wants you to discover life with him, life with the rock Jesus Christ, and bring healing into your life. His goal is not easy life but eternal life.

Have you ever read John 3:16 by inserting your name? Give it a try: “For God so loved (insert your name) that he gave his one and only Son, that if (insert your name) believes in Him (insert your name) shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn (insert your name), but to save (insert your name) through him.” You are worth dying for. Jesus was permanently scarred so you could be forever healed.

God bless you. See you next Sunday.