I have an odd habit. Well, if I’m being really honest I probably have a lot of habits that most people find weird, but my habit of picking at scabs ranks pretty high on the weird-o-meter if you ask me. When I was younger I was a tom-boy. If there was a tree around, chances are I was climbing it, scraping my knees and elbows all the while. I loved climbing on things and exploring. I liked running and chasing things, playing all the sports and beating all of the boys (or at least trying). That also meant that I ended up with a lot of scabs. Perhaps it was the tom-boy in me who just wanted to get back out there for the next big adventure, but I loved picking at my scabs – they couldn’t go away fast enough.
It wasn’t until recently that I remembered this odd fascination of mine. Long since gone are the days of climbing trees (and falling out of them), but as I began to work out again, I ended up with a few scars and scabs. As I slowly picked at them, just wanting them to go away so I could get back to working out, I realized that there was something much deeper going on.
It isn’t just the physical scabs I like to pick at or want to go away. I’m so quick to pick at the scabs on my heart, to poke and prod the wounds that I’ve endured over the years. I’m in a rush to get the ‘scab’ to go away so that I can get back to whatever it was I was doing in the first place. The problem with this habit is that there is a time for everything, including a time to heal. I tend to like to rush that time of healing. Whether it is picking the scabs from climbing in trees, or picking at the scabs of a broken heart, I want to rush the process. There is a natural process to healing. The body forms the scabs to cover and protect the wound. In time, the body naturally sheds the scabs so that the skin can re-form. In some cases a scar remains, but the functions of the body continue.
The same is true of the heart. There is a natural process to healing. Scabs/walls/healing goodness forms around the heart to cover and protect it from any further damage or pain. So often we (myself included) want to rush the healing process. Broken hearts mean nothing, we want to tear off those scabs and get back out there, rushing to find our happily ever after. But when we rush the healing process, when we tear off those scabs sooner than they should naturally be shed, we don’t allow ourselves time to properly heal. Scars may remain, but if we tear off the scab, we risk make the wound that much worse.
As the author of Ecclesiastes writes,
There is an appointed time for everything,
and a time for every affair under the heavens. . . .
a time to heal;
a time to tear down, and a time to build (Ecc. 3:1, 3).
There is a time to heal, there is also a time to be restored, to build, and to press forward. Scabs are there for a reason. When we let the healing happen naturally and don’t try to rush the process, our wounds heal more completely than if we poke and prod them. When the temptation to pick at those scars arises, remember that it is God who heals them in His time. The scabs will fall away, and like a caterpillar in a cocoon, we’ll emerge more beautiful than before.