The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore. (Psalm 121:7-8)
Salvation in Christ does not equate to ease of life. Trials will come; they already have. More will follow, we can be sure of that.
God does not promise to shield us from pain. I know this is hard to comprehend, but it would be less loving for him to do so. Pain is a teacher, a disrupter of the fluffy surface of life that distracts us from that which is true and real. God uses pain because he loves us. He does not abuse his children.
The pain that God allows is not punitive; it is restorative.
We have a Keeper of our lives. Though we may go through hard times, he promises to keep us from evil. If he were not to keep us from evil, we'd experience a different kind of pain. It is the kind of pain that torments the soul. Pain from evil will tear at the heart and crush the spirit. God will not shield us from all difficulty, but he will keep us from evil.
It is hard to know the difference sometimes, especially for those who have been victims of evil. But here is the difference:
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28)
A crushed body is one thing. A destroyed body and soul is quite another. We have no need to fear him who can destroy our soul.
God will keep our soul safe from harm even if our bodies are not. It is not that our bodies are irrelevant. For those in Christ our bodies are temples of the Spirit. But the body will be redeemed one day. It will be healed and restored.
Let's talk about scars.
When Jesus appeared to Thomas, he let him touch the scars from his crucifixion. Doubting Thomas needed that proof, and Jesus knew it. What is surprising is that Jesus still has scars at all. He has been raised. His body has been renewed. Why do his hands, feet, and side still bear the marks of his torture? Shouldn't they have gone away?
Jesus' scars tell a story of redemption. The Father moved Jesus through a horrifying and painful experience to a better place. The hell of separation from the Father was a temporary, albeit excruciating, condition. Jesus' death purchased redemption for sins for mankind. It brought him back to the Father in heaven. The scars are the worn pages of God's story.
We all have scars. Some are physical and some are psychological. They remind us of what we've been through. I hope we can learn to let ours scars remind us of our Keeper. I hope we can learn to consider our protection from the evil all around us.
In a way, Jesus' scars makes our scars beautiful. Because Jesus offers freedom in himself and protection from darkness, his scars allow our scars to tell a story with a good ending. Our scars are part of our pilgrimage home.