God’s Word and a Scalpel

scalpelI had surgery to correct tennis elbow on May 18 of last year. I don’t play tennis. But supposedly many different types of repetitive motion can cause the tendons to fray. The surgeon’s scalpel made an inch and a half long incision, pulled the tendon away from the bone, and shaved the offending frays from that tendon. The doctor then sewed the tendon back to the bone before doing something to cause additional bleeding. This extra bleeding supposedly brings quicker and more complete healing.

My elbow hurt more in the days after the surgery than before. I knew that wouldn’t always be the case, but was necessary for healing.

God Often Brings Growth through Suffering

“Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word.” Psalm 119:27 NIV

God makes it clear many times in scripture that we will not escape hardship in this life.  Sometimes He allows us to endure pain to teach us obedience.  Natural consequences can direct us to a better way. And suffering can increase our dependence on Him. We won’t always find a lesson in our heartache.  Sorrow, grief and distress are natural ramifications of living in a broken world.  But there would be no demerit systems, school detentions or time outs if discomfort offered no instruction or reformation.

God Brings Growth Through Scripture

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 NIV

God’s word can be comforting.  We often buy wall art and home decor plastered with passages about God’s love and care for us.  We create or share memes for social media with verses about God’s good plans for us or encouragement to be strong and courageous.  And I would never want to diminish these expressions of God’s great grace and mercy for us.  But we can’t grasp on to the tender promises and ignore the instruction and conviction the Bible contains.

You will probably never see Hebrews 4:12 (above) cross stitched on a pillow, but it’s an important precept to understand and follow.  We love to talk about the abundant life we have in Christ, but that requires we walk in righteousness.  God’s word lays out His design for His creation – that’s us.  When we ignore that, we forfeit (at least for the time of disobedience) the blessings of right living.  God overflows with grace and mercy, but He will not allow His people to remain in sin forever.

How God’s Word Cuts

How   The cuts my doctor made were so tender after surgery that I held a wide berth around everything on my right side.  I didn’t want to touch anything and I didn’t want anything to touch me.  And I didn’t even want to think about flexing and extending my arm.  But I had full faith that my elbow would heal and return to better function than before.  Closer to God’s design for the elbow.  And heal it has.  I don’t regret the pain of the procedure for a second.

That’s the faith I have in God’s convicting and reforming Word.  It cuts straight to the heart if I let it.  It makes sometimes painful corrections to our actions and the thoughts and attitudes that brought about those actions.  But momentary pain, in the hands of our Lord and Savior, molds us more and more into the image of Christ.  God’s design for us.

I would love to hear your thoughts on pain and suffering in this world and God’s part in it.  Drop a comment below to join the conversation.

And now for this week’s featured post from the link up!

When You Try Trusting God & Things Get Worse.  I’ve definitely felt that.  If you have, this post from Donna Reidland will encourage you.

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