Does this hurt?

We avoid pain (no-brainer). We run from it unless there is a higher payoff – improved game, better abs, new baby in our arms, a bill paid off, a binge weekend of “Glee.”

My son, for his first dozen or so years, came to me and announced “Does this hurt?” Then he would pinch, punch, pull, twist, or otherwise separate tissue from tendon. It came in the form of a question: it was really a warning. Pain was imminent.

Next to inclusiveness and tolerance, pain avoidance is right up there as sacred. In fact, some preach that, if we experience pain, we must be out of God’s plan for our lives – if God’s plan is wonderful, how could pain be involved.

I remember when my kids were younger, that they would start down a road to pain and punishment. (Don’t get me wrong: they were good kids. But also living proof of humankind’s fallen-ness.)The first action received a warning, the second a sterner warning, and finally the pain that halted the path they’d taken. It almost seemed like they were asking for punishment (my dad’s two phrases – “Do you want a spanking?” “Sure, sign me up.” and “This will hurt you more than me.” “Uh, yeah.”)

Good pain comes at the right place and for the right reason. Maybe I ask for it (discipline) or maybe I don’t.

Have I ever seen a branch ask for a good pruning? A smart branch knows a good pruning will make it better and healthier. More fruit, less dead weight, more pleasure in the purpose of growing and living. Jesus prunes what he cares for. So, in the pain, trust his hand and his love.

Lord, prune me. I am good with the pain if it makes me more alive. I can take the lopping off of the dead weight I carry. Snip, saw, and drag it away so my heart, life and fruit can be yours and spilling over.

Not finished yet,
Rick

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What Disciples of Jesus Need (Part One)

This could get really personal… the nerve to tell others that I know what they need better than they! Just stay with me, though. Because, if God’s Grand Design for His people is anything…it’s deeply and painfully personal. So, maybe I can lift the painful part and couch it in first person.

I need mending. There is always a need for healing … because for me, there is always something wrong, needy, broken, misaligned, infected, or out of balance. In Christ, there is always a place for healing.

Could it be that I have limited my experience to salvation healing, but God wants to take the healing deeper to heal body, soul, mind, as well as spirit? (Jeremiah, with one breath, called out to God with praise for healing and for salvation!) I have a body that needs His touch, a soul that has taken on the scars of the battle, and a mind that has been smudged with the stuff of the world.

I need mending, and this comes by being in the presence of the Great Mender. In His presence, I find healing. Sometimes, right away. Sometimes, over the course of time, through much prayer and fasting, and with the help of friends whom God uses. I am mended.

Relationship with Christ always starts with mending. He heals my sin-sickness when I say “YES” to His gift of salvation through His sacrificial execution. He heals my misdirection when I take up the call to follow His plan and Lordship. He heals my relationships when I become less “me-centric” and more “other-centric.” And He continues to heal me when I come into His presence. And He opens the door to the waiting room, calls my name, examines me, and invites me to speak to Him about what hurts.

Disciples need mending.

Now, how painful was that?

More to come.
Rick