I had been sitting in my chair in the living room reading a book when my young daughter approached me with her doctor kit.
“I’d better make sure you’re okay,” she explained. She produced a toy thermometer, held it to my chest for a moment and then studied it seriously. “Uh-oh,” she said grimly. She then utilized her toy stethoscope and toy blood pressure cuff. After that she proceeded to hammer at my knee with her little doctor hammer – you know, the rubber hammer that doctors use for testing reflexes. I gave an obliging kick or two with my leg and she then tried it out on my elbow, wrist, and then my head. Ouch!
She then pulled out a toy scalpel. She started tracing lines out all over my body, conducting her surgery with great care and thoroughness. After a little bit, she stopped. She reached her hand up and placed it gently on my forehead and compassionately said, “Don’t worry. I’m going to put you back together.” Boy, was I glad to hear that! I hadn’t realized until that moment how big a project my undersized surgeon had taken upon herself.
She methodically retraced all her previous movements and, when done, pulled out her thermometer again. She held it to me for a few seconds and finally announced, “You’re all better now!”
It seems to me that Christians in general underestimate the size of the project that our Creator has taken upon Himself when He ushers us into spiritual life through faith in His Son, Jesus. The fact is that God is constantly working on us and in us, dealing with the various ailments that perhaps are unseen and unknown to us but are all too visible to the Lord. These insidious and invisible qualities within us not only hinder our capacity for joy, hope, peace, love and fruitfulness, they “detour” us the intimate fellowship that He desires to share with us.
So He hammers away at our hearts, our reflexes frequently proving to be at best sluggish in responding to His Spirit. Nevertheless, He works in us with the scalpel of His Word, uncovering masses of pride, greed and resentment that need to be removed from our hearts’ attitudes.
But the process of setting us free from such things can be painful and often leaves us feeling torn apart. We focus too much of the time on trying to pull ourselves together on our own and try to hop off of God’s “operating table” as we hastily try to move on.
So we fail to see that God is trying to place His tender hand on our brows and we miss His reassuring promise, “Don’t worry, child. I’m going to put you back together again.”
David knew the value of God’s spiritual surgery in his life. In Psalm 139:23-24 he wrote, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Do you know that God loves you like that? He loves you enough to accept you as you are and too much to leave you that way. He takes you with all your hurts, sorrows, resentments, strongholds of pride and anger, yet, once He makes you His own when you receive His gift of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, He begins the work of transforming your heart and character.
And He does it because He loves you! Those things you too easily accept about yourself as being faults and weaknesses you’ll always have, only hinder your capacity to know God and enjoy His presence in your life today. But don’t worry. His work in your life, if you are His child, is not that of condemnation, but of loving and graceful transformation that takes place over a lifetime of walking with Him. Don’t be afraid of God’s work in your life. I’m not flippantly dismissing painful, sorrowful, and difficult trials that you may be facing now or have faced in the past, but if you have found yourself in such straits, then be encouraged that the Lord may be permitting these things in your life to produce some beautiful thing in and through you that will bless you and others, as well as God Himself.
And always remember that our temptations to feel abandoned or “picked on” by God are merely the perspectives from minds and hearts that are yet learning to trust Him. Whatever paths He may lead you to tread, your trust in Him WILL be vindicated when all is said and done. You will see that He is able to “put you back together” even when it feels like your world has fallen apart.
“… He Who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).