(Author's Note: Due to the impending surgery described below, this will likely be my last devotion until August, unless of course I have the state of mind not dulled by pain medication to do a couple more before the end of the semester on Friday. Thanks to all who wrote me encouraging comments and messages throughout the past 10 months. Until August, many blessings! Jim)
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:12-13 NIV)
Tomorrow morning I will be wheeled into the surgical theater. The orthopedic surgeon will take his scalpel and make a 4-5 inch cut length-wise across my knee. He will cut through both the tibia and femoral bones in order to remove the damaged joint and replace it with a brand new one. The surgery will be painful and the recovery arduous, but the outcome will be having a well-functioning joint for the first time in decades.
Years ago, when writing another devotion on this passage, I referred to the Lord as the “divine surgeon.” Using His Word as a scalpel, He cuts deep into us to reveal damaged tissue and dysfunctional organs. His cuts are precise, not shoddy; clean, not jagged.
During my first knee operation, a nurse’s assistant came to shave the hair on and around my knee in preparation for my surgery the next morning. Using a dull razor and poor technique, he cut my knee so badly that it drew a derisive comment from the surgeon as he prepared to operate. Thankfully, the Lord’s scalpel is sharp and his technique is perfect.
My surgery tomorrow will be painful, but it is the only way for me to once again walk normally and be able to resume activities I had to give up many years ago. My surgeon is very experienced and has done this procedure literally thousands of times. He knows what he is doing and I am confident in his skills and the outcome. Am I nervous? Of course. No one wants to suffer pain, but I am confident it will be worth it.
It is a similar experience with the Lord cutting deep into us. It can be very painful to learn of the dark things that lie within us. Many would just rather not have them revealed, so they refuse to allow the Lord to operate. They will tolerate a cursory examination, but a surgical procedure is out of the question. The story of the rich young ruler is a perfect example of this (Luke 18:18-23).
Sadly, this only allows for the continuation of the suffering. Before my second knee operation, the surgeon examined me and said he knew there was something wrong with the joint, but he wouldn’t know the extent of it until he opened it up and probed around.
To be healed spiritually of what ails us, a casual reading of the Scriptures will not do. The Word must penetrate our hearts; it must cut through the outward flesh in order to get to the root of the problem and clean it up. It is painful, but necessary if we ever want to function in our lives as the Lord intended.
Today, know the Lord is a skilled surgeon, wielding a sharp scalpel. His technique is perfect and, if you allow Him to use it, will bring healing to the diseased and damaged areas of your life. The procedure will indeed be painful, but the outcome will be more than worth it.
© Jim Musser 2014