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My God Scar

By Laura J. Bagby Sr. Producer - As young and immature high school students, we want to leave our mark on the world so that we will be remembered by posterity. We want to engrave on life the words "I was here," as many had literally done on those bubble gum encrusted classroom desks.

We snicker when we think back to those foolish days, but the principle of wanting to be known and wanting to be remembered is something we share with our Heavenly Father.

God also wants to be remembered. He wants our lives to say "God was here" as a reminder to us as individuals and as a tribute to the succeeding generations of His power and goodness and grace and freedom.

Just look at this Scripture passage:

So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, and said to them, "Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, 'What do these stones mean?' tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever" (Joshua 4:4-7, NIV).

God knew that as a stiff-necked people, the Israelites had a tendency to complain, to look at what hadn't been accomplished instead of what had, to forget His benefits and His provision. So He had them stop everything and raise a stone memorial, a very visible sign of what had just occurred.

Like those Old Testament folk, God chose to give me a sign of remembrance after a significant spiritual milestone. And He did it in a most unusual and unforgettable way.

The time period was the summer of 1994. For three months I lived as a missionary and employee at Yosemite National Park in California, working at a gift shop and teaching weekly Bible study lessons at the chapel to interested employees and vacationers. I was part of a team of "Innovators" under the tutelage of the Yosemite Resort Ministries' pastor, the teva-sandal-wearing Steve Hughes.

And even though I could count the number of those who came to the Lord that summer on my hand, I have never felt the trip was unsuccessful. And I guess that's because when it comes to souls, one soul gained for the Lord is as important as thousands. God rejoices over each and every one of His children who come to Him.

I love what Luke 15 says on this subject.

Then Jesus told them this parable: "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.' I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent" (Luke 15:3-7, NIV).

Two lost sheep found their way back to the Lord that summer: Kirsten and Holly. Kirsten was from Canada and was just initially curious about this Jesus we kept talking about. She used to hang out with the Innovators and ask questions. Holly was from the South. I remember she had a really good sense of humor. She was a lukewarm Christian who needed to get back to the Lord.

Kirsten and Holly had decided to go on the two-day backpacking trip with us to Half Dome in mid-June. Half Dome is one of Yosemite's majestic landmarks, a mound of granite that had one side of its dome-shaped crown sheered off by glaciers eons ago—thus the name Half Dome.

Two days of rationed rabbit food, bears, winding switchback trails, and a momentous 20-minute climb up the steep granite face of the dome, holding onto only a firmly planted steel-cabled railing. It was quite an adventure. But more exciting than that was what was happening in the hearts of Holly and Kirsten as we headed back down to the valley at the end of our trip.

June 16, 1994, I wrote in my diary:

"On the way down, Holly talked to Steve about salvation, because she wasn't sure about hers. He explained how we come to Christ. Kirsten and I followed right behind them, and Kirsten was nodding in agreement! I was so excited to see Kirsten so interested in Jesus. … Without my knowing, about three days later she accepted Jesus. She said to Jen [my roommate] that she was praying I guess Thursday night and she felt she couldn't do anything but accept Jesus. The Spirit was moving. Sunday, which was yesterday — I'm behind in my diary writing — Kirsten talked to Steve and told all of us about her decision. I jumped for joy. Holly accepted Jesus, too."

I remember the overwhelming joy and expectancy I felt as I traversed that trail just soaking up the providence of God as I saw Him working His Holy Spirit into these women. I was beaming.

That summer was a true mountaintop experience (no pun intended!). I relished my time with the Lord every day and fell in love with the Jesus I had first come to know at age 7, but who had truly become Lord out in that wilderness. I had peace and faith and security like never before. And now two more on the path of righteousness. I wanted to always remember this time in my life.

Little did I know that God would forever etch this experience upon my life; God made His mark on me that summer—literally.

We had stopped for lunch at one of the falls on the way down from Half Dome and were getting ready to finish the last leg of our journey. We began donning our heavy packs again. I casually shrugged the pack over my shoulder, not realizing that one edge of my exterior metal framed pack was razor sharp. It caught my arm, digging deep into my skin—so deep that it didn't bleed at first. Shocked, I stared, waiting for the blood to flow. Everyone was so busy, they didn't notice. And I didn't want to make a big deal about it, so off we went.

Amazingly my arm didn't get infected, but I did have a scar. And I am proud to say that I still have that scar today. I call it my God scar—my own special tattoo from the Lord—because it stands as a reminder of what God did that summer.

Now every summer when I get a tan, that little white scar is more distinct than ever. How profound that that mark would be most noticeable in the summer. I smile because God has etched on me His will and His heart to know Him and to remember His ways.

I pray even now that it never fades away.

Comments? E-mail me.

How to Give Your Life to Christ:

1. Admit you are a sinner and need forgiveness.

2. Believe that Jesus Christ died for you on the Cross and rose from the grave.

3. Through prayer, confess that Jesus Christ is the only way to God and commit to live for Him for the rest of your life.

What to Pray:

Dear Lord Jesus,

I know that I am a sinner and need your forgiveness. I believe that You died on the cross for my sins and rose from the grave to give me life. I know You are the only way to God so now I want to quit disobeying You and start living for You. Please forgive me, change my life and show me how to know You. In Jesus' name. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, please send us an e-mail to let us know. Or you can call our CBN Prayer Counseling Center at (800) 759-0700. We would love to talk with you and send you some resources to help you begin your walk with the Lord.

Laura J. BagbyLaura J. Bagby produces the Health and Finance channels. She writes inspirational, humor, singles, and health articles.

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