Sunday, March 1, 2015

Knives under Healed Wounds

Knifed heart from here

"When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, 'Do you want to get well?'" (John 5:6).

"Duh," she said. "Of course, I want to get well. What kind of question is that?"

She stared at her heart, conveniently placed in a glass case for everyone to see. The heart beat consistently, normally, because that's what hearts do. She spun the case on the lazy Susan of a table and watched it subtly jolt the heart back and forth, letting her know that it wasn't mounted in the most precisely balanced position.

Precarious, she thought. The word you are going for is precarious.

The heart stopped spinning and swinging on its mount. The lubb-dupp kept her entranced. Then she saw it, a tiny metallic glint reflected by the harsh fluorescent light of her room. It was only a slight protrusion. Like a lump in the heart's otherwise already lumpy structure. But it was noticeable. She would notice.

"That was that night," she said to no one in particular. She saw another lump an inch above the first. "And that was what he said."

There were other lumps in the heart, each with a metallic glint, each making her remember different times in her life, each making her wish even more to forget.

They were knives. Every single glint was from a knife. There were more knives than she could care to count. But there were knives of every size. They were knives she plunged in her heart herself.

"To stop it from beating," she told herself when she first stabbed her heart. But it obviously didn't work, and her heart kept on beating.

With time, she became convinced that one more knife would do the trick. One more knife would finally give her the feeling she has been wanting for so long. One more knife would finally set her free from this world.

But no. Every single knife hurt, for sure, but the heart grew around the knives. The wounds healed over them. Soon, whenever she decided to pierce another knife into her heart, she wouldn't feel it anymore. There was no pain. Anyone could stab her heart, but she would not notice. She grew accustomed to the weight of the knives. She couldn't notice it anymore. At least, at first she didn't notice.

She would go on with her life, doing whatever it was that she did, all the while having a heart bleeding but healing around knives.

Then they took out her heart and placed it in the glass case she was staring at now. She turned the lazy Susan once more.

"Do you want to get well?" she heard the question again.

She opened the glass case and tapped her finger on one of the knife points. Blood dripped from the prick. The knife was still sharp despite being enclosed in the heart. She wiggled it a little, but blood started pouring from where the blades would slice through the heart. And it hurt. It hurt like hell.

"Maybe I don't want to get well."

She thought of all those nights she spent squirming through the gash of blood from the most recent knife in her heart. She thought of all those days she couldn't move in fear of slicing her heart with the newest addition in her collection of knives. She thought of all the pain she would be experiencing if she decided to rip apart the knives from her heart. She knew that pain. She's tried it before.

"Do you want to get well?"

"No." She placed the glass case over her heart and secured the lock. Then she spun the lazy Susan again, wondering, waiting for when the next knife would pierce her and end it all.

Two Things

Well, this is a familiar scene. It doesn't have to be knives in a heart. It can be sleepless nights, empty cups, senseless shopping, or aimless living. It can be lying on your bed and deciding that you're happy with your messed up life. It can be going through the days, thinking that you will forever be that person and feeling like you can't ever change.

Well, here's the thing (the first thing, actually): You have a choice.

"Do you want to get well?"

It's not "Oh, you're sick. I'm going to heal you." It's not "Oh, you're healed." It's "Hey, I see you're hurt. Would like to do anything about it?"

I know, it does seem stupid to ask a hurting person if they want to be healed, but listen, the person still has the choice. During Red Cross training/CAT training, one of the first things they tell us to ask an injured person is "Hey, hey, are you okay?" (I can hear the injured person saying "Duh.") Why do we ask? So we can get a response. We can get a reading of how the person really is. And that's also why we're being asked, "Do you want to get well?"

A sick person who doesn't want to get well would do everything in his power to not follow the doctor's orders. He'd eat the restricted food, neglect medicine and exercise, and live a life he thinks would keep him sick. Why even try to heal him?

"Duh, no one wants to be sick. At least no one wants to get sick intentionally."

I disagree. When we get into destructive relationships (why does it always have to deal with relationships?), we're intentionally making ourselves sick. When we compromise with our work or our integrity, with our friends, when we backbite, we intentionally pick up viruses and germs and cultivate them in our hearts. Why intentionally? Because we're all grown-up here. We know what's right and wrong, yet we still make the wrong choice.

We have a choice to get well. We were not made like robots. We were given the freedom to decide what we want to do with this borrowed life.

Do you want to get well?

Whatever it is that is not making you well, you should realize that you have a choice. You can get well if you want to.

But here's the catch (which is the second thing): You can't do it on your own.

What? you might be thinking. Give us a choice then not let us actually do what we decide on?

Not saying you can't do it. Just saying you can't do it on your own.

If that sick person in the street whom Jesus actually asks "Do you want to get well?" could do it on his own, why was he still there? His friends haven't helped him. (There go his friends.) He has no family to speak of. He was just . . . there.

Tried stopping yourself from falling for someone you know is just wrong for you? (This heart again.) Tried stopping yourself from spending all your time and money on computer games or games in general or even shopping? Tried stopping yourself from a bad habit? Failed. Failed. Failed. Why?

There are some illnesses that cannot be healed by patients alone. That's why there are doctors. It is the patient's choice to want to be healed, but the doctor does the surgery. Sure, the patient also has a large part in this, cooperating with whatever the doctor decides to do.

Note the term surgery. Just the sound of it hurts. But we need it. We need to be operated upon. This life, this complacency to the things we know are wrong, the blisters and scabs of wounds we have opted to ignore, they all need to be operated upon. And we can't do it on our own.

He's called a Savior for a reason.

Why is it that when we say savior (lowercased), we think of firemen, superheroes, and knights in shining armor? But when we say Savior (capitalized), we think "Bleh, religious stuff"? Our Savior saves (duh).

Sure, we've heard it all before: Jesus came to save us from our sins. But do we believe it? Do you believe it?

Then why stay sick? Jesus offers to heal us. Give Him your consent. Tell Him you're ready for your operation. You don't need to keep living with those knives in your heart.

It's going to be painful. I can assure you, it's going to hurt like nothing you've ever felt ever before. It's going to burn you to the core. But I can also assure you, it's all worth it. After all the pain of the operation, after all the knives are out of your skin and your heart, it will all be worth it.

Knives are heavy, so once they're not in your heart anymore, your heart will get lighter.

Note, you might feel occasional pain from new wounds you might incur, but have faith. All wounds heal. And someday, though you may have scars, you can smile and say you survived it all and that it wasn't just you. Your scars are battle wounds. Show the world who holds the victory. Your Doctor, the King.

Do you want to get well?

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