Tuesday, January 13, 2009


A few days ago my five-year-old limped into the house with tears streaming and voice screaming. He painfully, and repeatedly conveyed that a few spikelets of the Cenchrus echinatus had become embedded in the ventral side of his...o.k. actually he just said, "I stepped on a sandspur!" All my physician's training, mostly the result of adding Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary to my bathroom reading list, suddenly kicked into play!

Later, my wife questioned me about the tools I used for the dangerous procedure of spikelet extraction. I told her the little Arc-AAA flashlight illuminated the injury, the Swiss Army card provided magnification, and the tweezers were for removal. "I know all that, what's the Sharpie for?" I smiled, "Do not amputate!"

The procedure of removing the junk from our lives is often the same way, in pain and discomfort. God doesn't want to hurt us anymore than I wanted to hurt my son. But the boy had stepped in sandspurs, so there was no getting around the pain. God working in our lives hurts not because God wants to hurt us, but because we've really stepped in it. Sin, by nature, is damaging, and removing such damage is painful, sometimes bloody and disgusting.

I can almost hear the Father say, "I wouldn't hurt you for anything in the world." Even in the Old Testament, where there is often punishment and death, I am reminded that sin is destructive. The reality of the Gospel is the Son of God being born in a stable, coming right down in the middle of filth to deliver us from that filth! The reality of the Gospel is the Son of God being beaten and nailed to a cross, bleeding out, dying the most repulsive death, so that we might live!

When I was through getting the stickers out of Joel's foot, he was ready to run back outside and play; after taking off "slip-ons" and putting on sox and shoes! Rest assured in this: When the Father puts his hand on your life, when he has cut at you with the sword of the Spirit, when he has burned out those impurities with the fire of trials and persecutions, you'll be better off than before he started! You will be refined as pure gold!

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade — kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith — of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire — may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. -1Peter 1:3-7

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