I was in an in-between, "sort of" dialogue with the Lord earlier today--meaning I was halfway praying and partly complaining, and He inserted Himself into my musings.
Let me be frank from the beginning and admit that I sometimes think He's unfair. Lately, I've resented His dealings with me and even entertained the thought that He is unjust and untrustworthy. It is only a testimony of His kindness that He hasn't blasted me with a "where were you when I...?" confrontation like he did Job.
The subject on my mind at this particular time was how bruised and scarred He allows His children to become through the spectrum of day-to-day knockings of life, to absolute tragedies. Where is justice for the oppressed? Why allow life to lacerate the fragile souls of men and women with wounds that never completely disappear? Scars are unattractive, and most of us go to great lengths to hide or decrease their appearance.
And then I heard Him: You see scars; I see racing stripes.
Lord, that makes absolutely no sense. Scars don't make us go any faster.
I began trying to rationalize the connection between stripes and scars, thinking about Jesus' sacrifice for us, and about how generals have to earn their stripes through tests; and while both parallels had merit, I couldn't get away from "racing stripes." After debating on it for several minutes, I turned to Google to find out if there was any significance to racing stripes other than an aesthetic one.
What I learned is that racing stripes initially served a practical purpose before they became a fashion trend.
"Racing Stripes" (also called "Rally Stripes") were originally applied to the hood of closed-wheel race cars so as to provide a straight line in alignment with the dricer's [sic] line od [sic] sight. Contrasting colors were used, and they assisted the driver in determining the direction of a car in the event of a spin, when tire smoke or dust could cause temporary disorientation." ~Shelby "Le Mans" Stripe Dimensions
Life can be disorienting. All too often, circumstances can cloud our judgment to where we can't even see the hand of the Lord working on our behalf. And to those who He seeks to accelerate in the race we run, He often grants the greatest searing of scars. These are not to disfigure us or to embitter us. Rather, they are tangible arrows pointing to His grace at leading us through past trials when we can't see Him in our temporary blindness. We align our scars with the path of His written word and find the strength not only to stand in faith that we will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living, (Psalm 27:13), but also to continue to press on until we see the light again.