This past weekend, I decided to cook a frozen soy burger since I have 2 boxes full of them after our youth group kick-off back in August (I never did bring the soy burgers to the event). I don’t have a grill, so I decided to cook them in a pan on the stove (which I’ve done before). I added some oil and let it heat up for a while.
That’s when it happened. As I slid the frozen patty into the pan, I heard a “POP!” and hot cooking oil splattered up at me, getting on my forearms and under my chin. I yelped out in pain and for a moment didn’t know what to do. I was so shocked at what just happened. I wiped the oil off my skin and quickly ran my arms under cold water, watching as the dark red burn marks appeared. I went to the bathroom and my face looked okay, but later on I noticed the big burn mark on the side of my chin and several spots on my chin where the oil also splashed me. 😦
My skin had that burning sensation for a little while afterwards, but I think I only have first degree burns. This, of course, happened during our church missions conference where I was on the worship team. So I had to go on stage in front of all those people with burn marks on my face and arms. It was okay at least because it was cold and I could wear long sleeves to cover my arms, but it definitely made me feel self-conscious about the spots on my face. Despite my insecurities, God worked powerfully to draw His people to Himself through our worship sets over the weekend.
So my prayer has been that this week I would be more God-conscious than self-conscious. I want to be more aware of what God is doing in my life and around me than worrying about how I might look or what other people are thinking about my burns. The truth is, most people don’t even notice them (the ones on my face are hard to see unless you’re really looking or look under my chin…my hair can hide it) and my arms will only be noticeable if I’m wearing short sleeves (which I’ll be doing the rest of the week because we’re back up to the 70’s in temperature). But honestly, I haven’t been too concerned about the burns so far this week. I’ve accepted the fact that they’re there for now and am not allowing them from preventing me from doing the work God has called me to do.
Healing Begins From Within
People feel bad for me because they think I’m probably in a lot of pain (I’ll spare you the pictures). Truthfully, the burns haven’t really hurt much at all. Right now they’re just really REALLY itchy!! I’m even getting other little red bumps on my arms around the burns…maybe I’m allergic to something. It’s horrible, but last night one spot on my face started peeling. I know you’re not supposed to do this, but I peeled off that small bit of dead skin (sorry if this is disgusting) and I’m still amazed at how slightly pink, new skin was there underneath that dark spot! I thought, “New skin! I probably won’t have all these dark spots forever!”
Healing wounds itch because the new cells are growing underneath the old scab (or in my case, burned skin). While this is an uncomfortable period, I’m reminded that real healing comes from within. Just like putting a bandage over my burns wouldn’t heal them, all the emotional and spiritual hurts and pains or the dark sins and secrets we have in life can’t be healed superficially. We may pray or read our Bibles without really meaning those prayers or caring about what we read just because we want life to be different, but we’re not willing to make a change. We can put on a smile to make it look like everything’s okay and tell people that we’re “good” or “fine” when they ask us how we’re doing. So while it may seem like we’ve turned our lives around or moved on past the hurt, we’re just covering the hurt. We haven’t dealt with the heart issue and healing needs to come from the desire to change and to let God do the work within our souls.
God created the human body to amazingly repair itself after trauma (like being burned). My skin may not be free from some scars (hopefully faint ones) when this entire process is over, but it will be made new. When we allow God to work through our pain and our wounds, He will heal them. He makes all things new. The scars are a reminder of where we’ve been and what we learned through that experience. I know I will be extra careful any time I’m cooking with oil from now on (which tends to be pretty often), and I also know that only God can bring about true healing and transformation in my life. When I say I want to change and turn away from sin, I know I can’t do it on my own. I’ve failed way too many times. But when I recognize my own insufficiency and hand that sin over to the One that is sufficient, He will take it and to transform me to be more like Him. I will be a new creation.
How have you let God heal your life? If you haven’t, what’s holding you back?