Monday, January 30, 2012

The Scars That Bind

br/A 4-foot-tall wooden cross that hung on the emergency department waiting room wall at St. John's Mercy Hospital in Joplin, Missouri, will lead the way from the demolition site to the new hospital site on Sunday, January 29.

Over the weekend the city of Joplin, Missouri held a commemorative service at the site of St. John’s Mercy Hospital, which was devastated 8 months early from the tragic tornado that went through Joplin and took so many lives (Hayes, 2012, “8 months after devastating tornado, Missouri hospital to be demolished”). According to the article, “8 months after devastating tornado, Missouri hospital to be demolished,” the city of Joplin is going to be bulldozing the remains of the former hospital and breaking ground for a new building. The staff of St. John’s and members of the community have salvaged many commemorative items out of the hospital including a four-foot cross that survived the storm (Hayes, 2012). To read this article please click the link:

This article and the courage of Joplin, Missouri vividly conveys the message found in Sandra Wilson’s (2001) book, Hurt People Hurt People. Just as Joplin faced its worst nightmare in a place of safety, the hospital, many face their worst nightmare as children in their homes’(Hayes, 2012; Wilson, 2001). Tragically many children find themselves the victim of devastating acts, such as sexual abuse, physical abuse, verbal abuse, and unrealistic and unhealthy expectations at the hands of parents, relatives, and adult friends (Wilson, 2001, Chapters 3-4). Wilson highlights that as adults, to find true healing one must face the nightmare and pain one has been fighting to ignore and erase for decades. She emphasizes that to deal with the painful consequences of the horrific actions against them, one must recognize these acts for what they are, examine their unhealthy coping methods, and eradicate these methods. Then one must move forward to build a new healthy life in Christ free of past habits that came from devastating events in one’s childhood (pp. 88-104). The people of Joplin must also revisit the horror of their nightmare as they go to demolish the site of devastation and begin anew (Hayes, 2012, para. 4).
After reflecting on Wilson’s (2001) book and this article, as well as the courage found by the people of Joplin it has become clear to me that storms hit each of us often in the worst places and at the worst time. However, God is always with us in the midst of the storm and in the debris that follows. A constant symbol of hope for Joplin has been the four-foot cross that remained hanging in the emergency room as the tornado devastated the rest of the hospital. The vice president of St. John’s, Terry Wachter, summaries best what the cross not only means to Joplin, but to the rest of us, “The cross certainly has scars on it…But they just add character” (as cited in Hayes, 2012, para. 29). The beauty of the cross is not found in its perfection, but rather in its scars.
“who Himself [Jesus] bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you are healed.” 1 Peter 2:24 (NKJV)

Hayes, A. (2012, January 28). 8 months after devastating tornado, Missouri hospital
to be demolished. CNN U.S. Retrieved from
Wilson, S. D. (2001). Hurt People Hurt People. Grand Rapids, MI: Discovery House


  1. I think the beauty of tragedy is not the wounds or scars themselves but in what God can turn them into. I think that is what you are saying. Right? God can bring so much grace and good out of our wounds that what was once seen as non-redeemable (senseless) evil later transforms into a good redeemed from the thing least expected. That is His particular magic... and He must be trusted for it -- even for years in end and maybe an entire lifetime. Yet, for certain, when we gain His understandin one day in eternity future, we will all say the great "Amen " (let it be). Thanks for this!


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