In our home, splinter is a swear word. I know, I know. It sounds dramatic, but nonetheless, ’tis true.
The first time our youngest got a splinter, I made the mistake of assuming he was precocious enough to understand sarcasm, saying, “I guess we will have to cut your hand off.”
While the toddler brain is not developed enough to understand such nuanced humor, the toddler brain is spongy enough to absorb such information as absolute reality. The result of such facts is that every time he gets a splinter, he honestly cries and screams in fear that the doctors might have to cut off his hand.
Despite my attempts to repair my mistake, the deep-seated emotions of fear and terror continue to mark any and every splinter occasion in our household.
Did I mention that my husband is an amazing woodworker? Do you see the perfect storm forming?
Splinters are a semi-regular occasion in our house. Splinters are a semi-traumatic occasion in our house.
Over the past two weekends, we have had three splinter incidents, which means that we have been operating as splinter team six.
All joking and hyperbole aside, splinter removal is a team affair in our home. At least 3 out of five, if not all five members of our household, are usually involved in removing the tiniest slivers of wood.
I wish you could see us all huddled around the splintered one, coaxing and comforting. We take turns being the skin pincher, the tweezer wielder, the cheerleader or the distractor. Splinter Team Six. Ready for removal.
In the midst of a small, though life-threateningly serious splinter (there is that sarcasm again) removal from our middle son’s foot yesterday morning, the Lord showed up in my own soul.
Splinters are so small and seemingly insignificant, yet they inflict a disproportionate amount of pain. They wedge themselves into us so smoothly, yet they are so difficult to remove. It usually takes two people to remove a splinter, at least in our house. And both parties must be on the same team with the same goal: getting the darned thing out at all cost. The process is strange, as the teammates must contort themselves in strange ways to get to the splintered area. As such, there is a strange intimacy that comes about in splinter removal.
As we huddled around working on splinter removal yesterday, the Lord reminded me that sin removal is similar.
Even seemingly small sins have a way of causing disproportionate pain and discomfort. In Christ and with our trusted communities, we have a Splinter Team Six poised and ready for removal action; however, we must be ready for the process and the pain involved in even the removal of the smallest sin patterns. There will be discomfort and pinching and pealing back of tiny layers of soul, laden with sensitive nerves. Thus, we must invite the team to join us in our endeavor to be less sin-splintered souls.
When we refuse the pain of the process, we invite ourselves not only to a lingering nuisance, but also to the risk of infection and more systemic pain.
As I gently tweezed my little man’s foot, all the while consoling him and calling him to courage, I saw the Lord’s role similarly in regards to helping remove sin from my life. He doesn’t stand at a distance, shaming or chiding me for having a splinter. He doesn’t simply demand that the splinter be removed at all costs.
Rather, He bends down, pulls up his proverbial sleeves and gets to work, gentling working with me with a shared goal: to remove the small but serious invader.
He dries our tears and calls us to courage; He patiently reminds us that the pain is worth it as much as the risk of infection is not. He cheers and celebrates when the splinter has been removed. He bandages up the tender skin around the small surgery and sends us on our way back to the joys of our normal routines.
Do you have a Splinter Team Six? Are you a part of a Splinter Team Six?
So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 2 Timothy 2:22