The Warning Signs

I’ll spare you the gory details, but I suffered a toe injury. Then thanks to my ability to minimize my body’s natural alarm system (PAIN means Alert! Alert! Attention needed!) it got worse.

I knew a visit to the doctor was warranted, but I kept putting it off. In part, because I didn’t want to hear any sensible advice (like stay off your foot) that might interfere with a two-day trip I had planned with some girlfriends.

So I ignored the warning and went on my trip. After the first day my toe was sore, but hadn’t really gotten any worse. However, the second day we did some extensive walking. By the time I returned home my toe was visibly swollen and throbbing with pain.

I scheduled an appointment at the clinic for the next day.

By morning my toe hurt so badly that I was unable to find a single pair of shoes I could tolerate wearing. After settling on some open-toed sandals, I made my way to the car using the ever popular step-drag method. Add a hump on my back and I could hear the bell towers of Notre Dame calling me.

It was when I stepped out of my car in the clinic parking lot that I knew I was in real trouble. Up to this point I had managed to downplay the impact pain had on my mobility. Now parking as close to the entrance as possible, the door still seemed like a football field away.

Two other women got out of their cars at the same time I did. One was about eight months pregnant. The other had her foot in a surgical boot. In the race to the front door I came in a distant third.

By a long shot.

During my appointment as I experienced some painful procedures, the practitioner threw around scary words like MRSA and staph infection. I left with two double doses of antibiotics and an appointment with a podiatrist.

All from a tiny innocuous injury to my big toe. Crazy, right?

But here’s the thing. Sin is like that, too.

Little words or actions I know are wrong get diffused in my mind. I begin to reason that what I said or did wasn’t “that bad”. Rejecting accountability by letting those sins continue without correction assures that inevitably things will get messy.

In reality, sin is sin. And when left unattended it can grow and infect.

Here’s just one example. (And in the name of truth I will admit that I have suffered the consequences as both the recipient and the perpetrator.)

Words have the ability to build up or tear down and sometimes the line gets slightly blurred. Ignoring that a cutting comment clothed in humor can diminish another’s self-worth, unkind words are uttered in a joking way.

I’m not saying that humorous or silly remarks are bad. It’s the manner in which they are spoken. When innocent remarks begin to morph into hurtful sarcasm the warning bell in our heads should begin to sound.

Why do we think that as long as someone laughs along with us, the verbal slap didn’t sting? The person who said “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” is a liar.

Thoughtless words can land a permanent wound on the recipient. If I am not actively “encouraging one another and building each up” as Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 5:11, then I am in opposition to the Word and inviting sin to have a comfy spot in my heart.

By downplaying the damage, I can easily end up with a sin-sick soul in need of more than a double dose of antibiotics.

Fortunately, I know a really great Physician.

Heeding the warning signs of my sin, I can run to Him in sincere repentance and find that He is the antidote for any pain. Every cure, whether reprimand or restoration, is rooted in His abounding, unending love for me. Simply put, I can trust God to know what’s best for me.

Each visit yields another lesson learned and increases the likelihood that I will respond to repentance’s call the next time the alarm is sounded.

I am so thankful that the LORD’s clinic is always open for counsel and healing.

Free of charge.

It’s a good thing, too, for as much time as I spend there I could never afford the co-pay.

 

 

A Sweet, Sweet Sound

At this moment squeals of laughter resonate outside my bedroom door as Isaiah sings and strums his “a-tar” to the worship music. What a sweet, sweet sound it is to my ears. How I wish that every child could know that joyous expression of love.

Although I have great affection for all of the students in my classroom, there are certain children who burrow into deepest part of my heart. Most often they are living in homes where chaos reigns and hurtful words and actions abound. One day this week a story came tumbling out from such a child. He described cuddling his wailing sibling while his mother and her boyfriend violently fought just a few feet away. A lamp sailed across the room shattering as it hit the wall. He peeled off his shoe to reveal his bloodstained sock where a broken piece had cut his foot.

After a trip to the nurse I stood for a moment in the hallway and fought back tears, the anger I felt toward his mother burning inside me. My mind raced with furious emotion. I am so mad at her! How could she let this happen to him? How could she pull him into the violence she had created? But as quickly as my thoughts formed the Spirit spoke, “But she is also my child. Pray for her. Pray for her, too.”

And so I am devoted to praying not only for this little one I love, but also for the ones who are committing these atrocities against him. I can be confident that the LORD hears my prayers and will intercede on their behalf. James 6:5 tells me “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” I must confess my own judgemental heart to the Father and pray for healing for this struggling family. I will pray 2 Thessalonians 3:3 over this broken family believing that “…the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.”

And in the interim, I will wait with a thankful heart knowing that God is good and God is just. Letting my prayers of intercession rise, I can know they are received into the throne room of God as a sweet, sweet sound releasing the power of the Spirit. As I confidently wait for the change that will come I will continue to do the work he has established for me. Revealing His love to the ones around me – one little soul at a time.