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War leaves scars. They are emotional. They are physical. They are spiritual.
My brother had proposed to my sister-in-law on Valentine's Day, and so it was on that fateful day, 12 years later that his and her lives would change forever.
My brother had invited his wife to the posh Phonecia Hotel in Beirut for a cosy romantic lunch date while their three kids were in school. They decided to sit at a table facing the window so they could see the beautiful view outside. They could see the azure sky touching the Mediterranean in the distance.
At first, they sat opposite each other, but feeling amorous, my brother asked Pam to sit next to him. She was facing the glass window.
During the meal, as they chatted, little did they know that a very important government official was passing on a street close by and that this event would mark them forever.
"On 14 February 2005, Rafic Hariri, the former Prime Minister of Lebanon, was killed, along with 21 others, when explosives equivalent of around 1,000 kilograms of TNT (2,200 pounds) were detonated as his motorcade drove near the St. George Hotel in Beirut."
This was only a short distance from where my brother and his wife were having their Valentine meal. The glass window imploded when the car bombs detonated, and my brother and his wife were thrown off their chairs. They were soaked in blood and for a while, found it hard to see or know what had happened. They were in a daze. The extensive bleeding was caused by the shards of glass they had been peppered with as the floor to ceiling glass imploded. They looked at each other and the ghastly sight was more than they could take.
In the mayhem that ensued, they were able to make their way outside the building with other injured people. Eventually, an ambulance rushed then to the nearby American University Hospital. It was nearby because my brother taught in the Business Department of the American University of Beirut, so they had decided to have a quick lunch in the nearby vicinity.
Extensive work was done on both their faces. My sister-in-aw had a tooth knocked out from the force of the impact as she was thrown to the ground. Her injuries were more obvious as she had been sitting facing the glass. Up to this day, my brother sometimes has pieces of glass make their way to the surface of the skin on his face, and he has to pull them out. That's how deeply they became embedded.
When later asked if they wanted cosmetic surgery done to cover up the zig zag scars on their faces, my spunky Canadian sister-in-law replied, "Why should we? This is part of our history, of what we have been through, and it gives us a great story to tell."
I wish I were as brave as she is. The three children had a hard time seeing their parents in this state. Pam had to stay in intensive care for a while and when the kids finally did get to see her, Dylan, the middle child, burst out crying and said, "Mama, I don't like what's happened to your face."
This is life in Lebanon. We have lived through the war. We have survived. We have scars that tell the stories. I have written a full article on this, and will post a few excerpts later.
We live in a spiritual battlefield. Christ came to rescue us, the wounded and the dying. He CHOSE to walk into the war zone. Jesus carries the scars in his hands and in his side of that rescue mission. He carries these marks for eternity, a sign of His great love and passion for us and for our salvation. He came to rescue the hostages of war....and "by His stripes, we are healed."
Isaiah 53: 5-
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed
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