My daughter came to me with her stuffed bear. We referred to all stuffed animals as a “stuffy”, or the plural form, “stuffies”. She was maybe three years old and already the bear had issues. His fur was bare in many places, rubbed off from love. The velvet of his nose was rubbed down to the plastic underneath. He had both of his eyes, but he had been hugged and drug around our house so much that his stuffing had been compressed. When I say compressed, I mean that he looked like a limp rag just out of the wash, but my daughter loved him. She loved him a lot.
We had no idea where this particular stuffy had come from. When we had our first child, many gifts came into the house from so many generous people that often, where things came from getting lost in the shuffle. However, whatever generous person got my daughter this bear may never know the impact they had on her life with that gift. Not to embarrass her, but she is currently thirteen and still sleeps with this bear. So back to the point, at the age of six, my daughter came to me and said, “Daddy, my bear is all lumpy. Can you fix him?”
I looked at the little rumpled thing, its head flopping off to one side. By all accounts, this thing should be thrown into the trash. As mentioned above, this little stuffy had been worn down the quick, in my eyes he was worth nothing more than the bin for sure. However, when I looked at my daughter, that was not an option. In her eyes, this was a precious companion; useful, needed, important, and loved. Throwing him away was not an option, giving up on him was not an option.
I took the bear in hand and looked him over. “I can restuff him,” I said. “But he is going to have a scar.” I can sew, but I can’t sew well. However, while my wife does sew, she hates doing it, so the task falls to me. I am the clear choice when it comes to these tasks. That being said, I knew the stitches would show when I was done. She agreed. I took some stuffing, a pair of scissors, and my needle and thread and got to work. I snipped open the little bear’s hip and began the process of replacing the stuffing inside. When the stuffing was complete, I sewed his hip back up. As I had warned my daughter, the stitches showed; there was a scar. Over the years, many a stuffy in our home received scars from “stuffy surgery” by my hand.
I think about this and wonder if this is how God thinks about us. We may look at someone who seems worn out, wasted, lost, and by all accounts ragged. But God, just like my daughter sees someone precious, worthy, and in need. He calls out to us to reach out and heal this person, but we reject the idea. If I get involved, I’m not going to be able to help. There will be scars. God is okay with scars. In fact, I think sometimes he uses our scars to remind us to turn back to him. He calls us to intervene in the lives of others, even if our help might produce some scars. Scars are evidence that healing has been done. They are evidence that someone cares enough to request the healing for us.
D. Michl Lowe