DayBreaks for 07/10/19: Awake During Open Heart Surgery
From the DayBreaks archives, July 2009:
How much pain can one person carry? I honestly don’t know the answer to that question. I know that I’ve had very little pain in my life compared to millions and probably billions of other humans who have lived on this blue marble. I can hardly imagine anyone, though, who perhaps bore so much pain as the ancient hero, Job. His suffering was emotional, financial, mental, physical and spiritual. I don’t know anyone else who has lost as much as Job did (especially his children!) The pain of losing just one child would be unbearable…but try to imagine losing all 10 at once. And for a time, Job, we are told, said and did nothing amiss. Then, he finally seems to break. But it wasn’t the loss of the flocks, herds, buildings. It had nothing to do with his financial empire. He didn’t even rail against God when his children died. I’m sure that wasn’t because he didn’t love them – he surely cared a great deal about them. No, Job seemed to “lose” it when he felt God has slipped away and left him alone. It was then that Job began to struggle. It was then that Job came face to face with a darker side of his nature than he’d probably realized existed.
In The Gospel According to Job, Mike Mason wrote: “Being a believer in God necessarily implies grappling with the dark side of one’s nature. Many of us, however, seem to be so afraid of our dark side that far from dealing with it realistically, we repress and deny it. If we do so chronically, we need to ask ourselves whether we really believe in the healing power of Christ’s forgiveness and in His victory over our evil natures. Perhaps we have never frankly come to grips with the fact that we ourselves are evil. If we have not, then we are ill prepared for those times when believing in god is like being away during open heart surgery. For our Creator is not yet finished with us; He is still creating us, still making us, just as He has been all along from the beginning of the universe. But for the short span of our life here on earth we have the strange privilege of actually being wide awake as He continues to fashion us, to watch wide-eyed as His very own fingers work within our hearts…the only anesthetic is trust…trust is not a passive, soporific thing. When there is stabbing pain, trust cries out. It is only mistrust, fear and suspicion that keep silent.”
Your life has had some level of pain. I am frequently asked “Why? Why is there so much pain involved with being a Christian? You’d think that a loving God would do everything possible to spare His children pain!” There is a certain rationale to that argument. But I think it misses the point that Mike Mason makes: God is doing open heart surgery on us – our hearts MUST be changed if we are to live forever. If they are not changed, we will die of our fatal condition. No one does open heart surgery just for practice or for the fun of it. It is only done when it is necessary to save or extend a life. We are awake during the process.
If God doesn’t do His surgery on our heart, we will most certainly die. There will be pain. But would any father not allow the pain in order to spare the life of the child? Certainly, a good father would agree to have the child operated on so that the child could live. The pain is part of the process of healing and being made well.
What makes the surgery on our hearts bearable at all? Trust. Trust that God is reliable and doing what is not only good for us, but necessary for us if we are to live with Him in His home. Belief that God knows precisely what is needed in your heart and mine – and that He will complete the work that is necessary.
PRAYER: Though this surgery is painful, Lord, we open our hearts to You and invite you to do what is necessary to make us fit to be Your children and to live in Your Presence throughout all eternity. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>