It was not what I wanted to be dealing with at 10:30 pm - a splinter embedded completely beneath the skin of my palm. The area around the splinter was swollen and red and hurt like crazy as I steadily peeled back thin layers of skin with tweezers. Deep breath in, short burst out, as I ripped away.
It could have been easier. I had gotten the splinter that morning, while helping friends on their final frantic packing day as they prepared to sell their home. I don't even remember how I got it. But what I sure didn't have was tweezers. Or time.
I had picked at it a bit with my fingers, succeeding only in making it worse by severing the splinter. And after I left our friends' house, my evening was spent feeding children and transporting them to activities. No time for silly splinters. It wasn't until I was getting ready for bed that I had the time and supplies to deal with my now pulsing hand.
That tiny black sliver was tenacious. It was so small, yet hurt so much. My skin had done the healthy thing - closed up a wound. Unfortunately it had closed the splinter right in.
And I thought about how sin is like that. How a tiny black sliver in the heart can cause so much pain and infection. And how sin unattended to gets closed right in.
If I had taken the time, found a way to get the splinter out as soon as it entered, it would have hurt some, yes. But not as much as it did now.
The damage to my skin was real. Instead of a small hole needing cleaning and maybe some ointment, I had a raw swollen palm that needed careful attention. Needed home surgery and lots of babying.
Ah, how often do we let in the heart splinters and don't bother to take them out? The longer they stay, the deeper in they work themselves. And the more they infect.
I have splinters alright. I am forever turning this holey heart over to Jesus for home surgery. My splinters are perfectionism, fear, laziness... oh and so much more. In His presence His balm cleans out those wounds and I am free!
Yet somehow, somehow, I let those splinters back in. Sometimes I think I might just catch myself shoving them back in.
I wonder... every day, if I go to Jesus and ask Him to heal my wounds, not waiting until they show up pulsing again, not waiting for the stinky behavior that belies the rotting... if I start the day acknowledging my inclination to self-injury, will the splinters come out fast and easy and my heart be healthy?
My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.The sweet balm of His love, His tender mercy, it is my hope. And it is truth that the wounds He accepted, the horrible things that pierced His flesh, are why I can be healed. He took the biggest splinters already.
- Psalm 73:26