Last night I burned my hand pretty good. I was taking a tray of food out of the oven and grabbed the wire rack with my fingers instead of the hot pad. Needless to say, it hurt bad! Mark was left to get dinner on the table and for the next five hours I literally kept my fingers in a cup of ice water. Every time I withdrew my hand, within moments I was in excruciating pain. I would test myself every half an hour thinking that the burning would certainly have stopped. Nope…it just kept going.
As I sat their frustrated with my plight, I thought that this is exactly how some people in the world feel about church and Jesus. As long as they remain in the cold, it seems that they are OK. However, when they encounter church and Jesus, the burning starts. Past hurts, lifestyle choices, and bad memories begin to sting in the open air. Although they want to be free of their cold world, that is where the comfort is. But it’s not where the healing is!
I couldn’t stay in my cup of water forever. I knew that I had to eventually endure the stinging in order to get on with my life. I was strategically trying to figure out how to sleep with a cup of ice water, but that is ridiculous. So, when I could no longer stay awake, I pulled my hand out of the water, wrapped it in gauze, and endured the bite of reality. After about an hour, I was OK.
And that is what North Creek is for some people. We give the wounded the opportunity to deal with some deep issues and we become the gauze for them. The good news is that facing Jesus doesn’t sting long. He loves you just the way you are, but He loves you too much to leave you that way. He is the cosmic bandaid puller. It hurts for a moment, just like pulling my hand from the ice water, but it means freedom in the end.
The good news is that I am able to function almost normally and productively this morning. There’s a scar where I was burned, but it’s much more of a memory today rather than the raw pain of the previous evening. And those of you who are facing some of your hurts and disappointments will also see that they will just be painless scars in the future. Memories of a life before Jesus’ healing and badges of his faithfulness.
So, pull yourself out of the numbing cold and face whatever it is that is keeping you from the warmth of Jesus! Get your healing and become a productive part of His church!
Stacy, you never cease to amaze me in the way you use analogies to help us understand the love of God. I love you and hope your hand feels much better now.