Her sister told on her. We have an aversion to tattling, but this was a telling meant for good. She hid her hand behind her back, trying to conceal the hurt it held. After asking gently, I not-so-gently commanded her to present the wound: a splinter, now infected because it had been hidden for two days. She begged, she pleaded, she cried, she bartered. She began to sob at the sight of the tweezers. She curled her hand into a ball and wrapped her body into a fetal-like position around the festering area. I waited for her to calm down. We prayed together and asked Jesus to help us, to make it go quickly and smoothly. I felt her relax and her fingers unfurl and was certain she was ready to trust.
I was unprepared for the battle to ensue…half an hour of wrestling and cajoling and soothing and finally, over-powering her strong little body to remove the offensive sliver. She screamed. Loud enough to be heard from the street. She became drenched with sweat, as did I. Afterwards, boo-boo cream, a band-aid and a rock in the chair in Mama’s arms helped right the wrongs of the afternoon.
Why did she struggle so much? Even with my repeated efforts to assure her that this was for her best, that I didn’t want to hurt her, that struggling was actually making it worse…she could only think of the pain and her fear. So she struggled with all her might and screamed with all the air she could find and FOUGHT the necessary healing. Why? This wasn’t her first splinter…won’t likely be her last.
But, this one hurt. A lot. She had received the wound two days earlier and chose not to request removal. She knew it needed to come out. Knew that it was not supposed to be there. But she concealed it, hoping it would go away, that we wouldn’t notice, that she could live with the foreign object just below the surface of her skin. Waiting made it worse. Caused an infection to begin. Caused swelling and irritation. Caused a lot of chaos, really.
I do that, too. I know when sin splinters my heart, pierces me and tried to make its home just under the surface. It doesn’t belong because I belong to Jesus. And I know I need to bring my wounds to Him and ask Him to heal me. I know they have the potential to irritate, to infect, to swell and obscure His purposes for me. But, still I wait. And like my feisty girl, I stubbornly curl my fingers around that sin and try to cling to it. Not because I think that sin is important–I know there is no value in it–but, because I dread the pain of its removal. My heart screams and I fight the healing. Why? Don’t I know by now that I can trust in my Father, in my Savior, Jesus? Hasn’t He proven to me that His healing is complete?
And His healing is better than boo-boo cream and a bandaid…His healing is perfect and leaves no trace of scar. Yes, when Jesus covers our sin and heals the blackness of our hearts, all that God sees is His Son’s blood covering the offense. We are made pure and holy because of the splinters He endured on the cross…
Lord, help me to run to you when sin splinters my heart. Help me to accept Your perfect healing. Thank You for Your work on the cross…Amen.