Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Splintering

St. George Island - July 2016

I walked the long sandy pathway up towards the boardwalk, shuffling and shifting until my feet hit the steady surface of the boards.  A few steps in and I felt an ache in the bottom of my right foot.  I stopped and looked at it, expecting to see a sand spur.  Nothing.  I took a few more steps, the ache intensifying with each step on the firm surface.  I hobbled the rest of the way up to the house, trying not to put pressure on it.   

My whole gait was off because of the pain.  

Once inside, I examined it more closely and there, barely visible to my naked eyes, a tiny splinter.  Nearly impossible to see, and even more improbable, it seemed, to remove - which I did, eventually.  And then marveled at its actual size, or rather, lack thereof...   

How could something so tiny affect my whole ability to move my entire body?

Yea.  Life's like that sometimes.

Just as the splinter had pricked my foot, the thought of it suddenly pricked my heart.

How many splinters were lodged there, in my heart, still?

Invisible, yet immobilizing.  

How long had it been since I'd prayed the words of the Psalmist, asking God to "search me and know my heart, to test me and know my anxious thoughts" and to "see if there is any offensive way in me"; to see if there are any splinters, hidden there, invisible to my eyes, yet affecting my every step.  

Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there is any offensive way in me, 
and lead me in the way everlasting.  
Psalm 139:23-24


How long had it been?

Too long.  I knew.

Because, let's face it, sometimes we'd rather ignore the planks in our own feet - and our eyes - and our hearts.  It's why Jesus asked, "And why worry about a speck in your friend's eye when you have a log in your own?" (Matthew 7:3).  His questions are always rhetorical, you know.  He, of course, knew why.  

He knew it was the nature of things, of us - we flawed human things - to sometimes feel more comfortable with our own hurting than healing, our own handicaps instead of wholeness.  And sometimes, if not always, it's easier for us to see and acknowledge and point out those specks and splinters of others.  And a few days turns into to weeks and then months and we're all covered up, our very faith splintering apart.  Until it's too much and we say, "Search me, O God".  Because he's the ultimate splinter remover, you know.  It's, like, His expertise.  

It's part of what Nadia Bolz-Weber refers to as our jagged edges: "My experience is God grabs ahold of those jagged edges of my humanity and just continually keeps saving me from myself, over and over again."  

And that's my experience, too.  This constant and consistent rescuing, this saving me from myself.

My past is evidence that I'm bent towards destruction, and the Gospel - as I've experienced it - is evidence that Christ is bent towards saving us from it - from ourselves.

Over and over again.  

That is the theme that has never stopped ringing in my ears, or in my soul:  His faithfulness.

Even in the midst of my splinters or when my faith is splintering.

He's always grabbing ahold of these jagged edges and pulling me back in, always rescuing, always redeeming.


Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now

And I will call upon Your name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine
Hillsong, Oceans