I lie stark naked on a trolley, albeit covered with a thin green sheet.
‘Vulnerable’ is not strong enough a word for the way I feel right now. My arms are spread out either side of the trolley on little extension pieces, somewhat like the ironing board extensions that seamstresses use for ironing flat the seams of sleeves. In my case, however, one upper arm is encased by a blood pressure monitor and the hand of the other arm has a canula inserted into it for medication.
I look up at the lights. Silvery white they are, row upon row of tiny lights, with a surface of ripples. They’re not yet switched on but soon will be. They will illuminate my middle-aged abdomen with its excess adipose tissue. Nothing will draw the eye into a central point, such as a well designed jacket can do, nor will vertical stripes draw the eye up and down rather than around the body.
These lights will illuminate everything. There is nothing I can do to hide it.
Nor do I want to hide. I want the surgeon to see everything there is to be seen with absolute clarity.
This surgeon comes well-recommended. I have confidence that he will do a good job and that, although I will emerge from theatre sore and sorry, in time I will be healthy and happy. Yet even this surgeon is fallible, and the lights, though bright, are limited.
There is one who is far greater, both in terms of light and infallibility.
This, in essence, is the message we heard from Christ and are passing on to you: God is light, pure light; there’s not a trace of darkness in him. (1 John 1:5 – The Message)
His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one is impervious to God’s Word. We can’t get away from it — no matter what. (Hebrews 4:12 - The Message)
The anesthetist says, “I will put you to sleep now.”
The next thing I know, an hour has passed on the big wall clock and the anesthetist is still by my side. “I will give you some pain relief now.” She could have done that BEFORE she woke me up. Man alive, my abdomen hurts. But alive I am, well and truly. A nurse approaches, holding a jar with my name on it and containing a whopping big stone. “Here you are – a gift – it is your gallstone.” It gets popped into a bag hanging off the foot of the trolley.
Even in my befuddled state, I ponder the miraculous nature of modern medicine. Under bright lights and with the right equipment, a surgeon can dig into my gut and remove this rock of calcium and who knows what else. Although recovery will not be immediate, it is a sure thing. Life will be so much better without that stone inhibiting the flow of digestive juices from the liver.
I am very grateful for the surgeon’s skillful work. Had I been too embarrassed to expose myself to his professional gaze, my future would not have been bright. That pesky stone was causing all sorts of problems because it inhibited the flow of digestive juices. To have refused treatment would have been foolish and, eventually, outright dangerous.
Similarly on a spiritual level, I need to come to THE Master Surgeon, the One who is Light Himself, and ask Him to remove all that is not right in my life. I want His life-giving Spirit to flow through me, unhindered by sin-stones. It will hurt and recovery may take some time, but under His hand, wholeness is assured. To refuse to come under His skillful watch simply because of self-pride and embarrassment about what will be exposed is foolish and outright dangerous.
Light. Bright, piercingly white. Revealing all that is; there is nothing that can be concealed.
Almighty God, Lord Jesus, Holy Spirit, Master Surgeon, come and do your work in me.
I lie in your presence, naked and vulnerable. Please will you to remove that thin green sheet, will you shine your very self on me, and will you do your surgery on my soul.
I want to be whole.
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