My daughter had done the unthinkable (brace yourself) and when walking by a telephone pole in our neighborhood she swiped her hand down the surface, catching a large bluish splinter in the heel of her hand.
These, as you may know are not ordinary splinters. They are forged in the fires of Mount Doom. They are ruthless, and I'm convinced they have the power to choose good and evil. I hope I'm not overstating it, but a wicked splinter can't be over defined.
I told her, as gently as I could, what was about to happen. I have to peel back the skin to get to the splinter.
Will it hurt?
Yes. It will hurt. That's the only way you can get better, though. Oh how true and how irrational and counterintuitive this statement is.
Hurting you to heal you.
I'm reminded of this when I talk with people who are being shaped and molded by God. There are times when pain and agony come out of nowhere, with seemingly no explanation, and it takes us off guard. We question God's goodness, we question whether or not we're being faithful and whether this is some "punishment" for something we've done.
We question. We pray. We weep. We wonder.
It only makes sense, however, that in a world shattered by sin God would have to lead us through times of pain to get the "splinters" out. Those things buried within us, those things that are killing our souls, those things that desperately need to be excised or exercised from within us may only be healed by our first going through a time of refining. A time where God says, gently, "This will hurt, but if you trust me it will be better on the other side."
Father, let me be awake and open to the splinters in my life and help me to extend my hand to you for their removal even when I know it will hurt for the moment.