Spring weather has arrived and with it many afternoons spent playing outdoors. With five children, I always have the Band-Aids close by. There is always a scraped knee or scratched elbow from running, climbing trees, or riding bikes. Recently there have been a plethora of ticks also, so we have to carefully check for them and remove them to prevent disease.
With each scraped knee, splinter, or tick, my kiddos cry out for help and relief from the pain. I reach for the peroxide and the Neosporin, but they pull back away from me. They are afraid of the sting which I know will clean their wound and ensure that infection is kept at bay. The sting is just for a moment, but without it the pain of infection will be worse and longer lasting. But my kids don’t understand that.
Even though I coax and whisper sweetly that it will be alright, sometimes they don’t trust me enough to care for their wound. I know the pain will stop in a moment, but they only know the certainty of the sting and pain of the cleaners and cream. They want me to fix it, but they don’t want me to touch it.
As I repeat this several times each week, I can’t help but notice the similarity to my own life. I experience a trial or difficulty and I cry out in pain for God to stop it, to heal my wound, to make it all better. I grip my bleeding, painful heart and scream that I can’t handle the pain. I plead with Him to help me, ,to remove the pain, and to wipe away my tears. And yet, when He comes to me with healing hands, I shrink back from what He is doing, afraid of any more sting and unwilling to have Him touch my open wound. The pain has blinded me. I don’t realize that He is working and purifying my life. I don’t feel His touch as tender because I can’t get my mind off the sting. I don’t see that He is preventing the infection of sin and worldliness because I only feel the fresh pain of the open wound or the tweezers removing the splinter.
Pain is purifying. It removes the dross. It cleanses away the weakness. It makes us stronger. It is not pleasant and I hate the feel of it. Sometimes I shrink away from what I know He must do in order to restore wholeness and holiness to my life, because it just hurts so much. But I must let the Great Physician work. He can see the wound with eyes that grasp the whole picture, not just the moment of pain. He knows the best medicine, and His skillful hands perform surgery with the highest success rating. He is using this pain for my good.
Even in my pain, I must trust Him to touch. He can heal. He can hold me and bear the pain with me. He knows best.