Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become. (THE MESSAGE)
If we have lived long enough, our bodies will have some physical scars. Maybe an accident or some surgery caused the wounds which caused the scars. They might be minor or might be disfiguring. But scars are a reminder that we have survived. Sure, we have been wounded, but we have come through those wounds.
This is what Paul is saying: life can throw a lot at him, but he allows such setbacks to drive him deeper into the arms of God. We who bear our scars and who admit our brokenness can find refuge in him. Our scars and our wounds do not disqualify us from intimacy with God or with our capacity to serve him.
Paul said it was the opposite. His rather superior Corinthian readers saw his struggles as a sign of inferiority. The truth is otherwise. In fact, we only ever discover the amazement of grace when we face up to our brokenness and take note of our scars. Grace means we don’t have to be perfect or unscathed. If we were, we would have no need of grace. Grace is only meaningful if we come to God with our scarred bodies and minds.
Our scars may be painful or poignant reminders of our fragility. They can also be reminders of our need of grace and the fact that we still live despite all that has happened to us.