This afternoon I have been pondering about what I would like to do with my life; I have been looking at my personality, passions, experiences, etc. in an attempt to find some clarity in an incredibly muddled area of my life. While I’m no closer to finding my “calling” or “purpose” I had an interesting thought about God that I would like to share with you. One thing that I know I want to do is help people, but I don’t just want to put a band-aid on a bullet wound, I want to get in there, do open heart surgery, get to the root of the problem and see a person restored and freed in every area of their lives. This idea of “getting to the root” is dirty, time and labor intensive, it’s exhausting and painful, but I believe it’s necessary. I’ve often wondered if some charitable work does more to help the well-meaning Christians feel better instead of actually helping the person’s needs. I’m not saying we should stop being charitable, I’m just proposing that there’s another element to it. What if instead of just throwing money at a homeless person we sat down next to them and worked to find out why they were in that state? Like I said: it’s messy, it’s painful, it’s hard, but I think that approach is more inline with God’s heart. I believe that God came into our mess, took the band-aid off of humanity’s wound and did surgery. Picture this:
A person is whole and complete, healthy and young, they have their entire lives in front of them. Then, by being in the wrong place at the wrong time, they are shot and the bullet gets lodged in the chest cavity. The EMTs arrive and pack the wound with gauze, pump the patient with meds and work on stopping the bleeding. They arrive at the hospital, nurses continue to cover the wound with gauze and replenish the patient’s blood supply: they don’t want the patient to bleed out. This is working for now, but they know this is not a lasting solution, they need to do something else but the surgeon won’t be on duty again until tomorrow. They continue doing what they’re doing: antibiotics, pain meds, replenishing any blood loss, and they wait. They have to wait until just the right time when the surgeon scrubs in: then they can finally get to work.
The beautiful, sterile room quickly becomes dirty. The white gauze and polished silver instruments are quickly stained with red blood. It’s a grueling surgery, taking hours to get the bullet out and repair all of the internal damage that was sustained. The surgeons and nurses are uncomfortable; they have been standing for 10+ hours, haven’t eaten, haven’t been able to leave that room- they’re ready to be done. But they can’t quit until they have saved that patient: they won’t leave until their job is done. Finally, the bullet is removed, the patient is stitched up and sent back to the room. When they wake up they’re exhausted and in pain, the doctor explains about the damage done, what will heal quickly and what may take a little longer, but the patient is just happy to be alive, they have a new outlook and appreciation of life that they didn’t have before: they feel brand new.
I’m not a medical person (I based this off of watching way too much House and Grey’s Anatomy), and although it’s not perfect, I believe this is a metaphor for what God did for us. Adam and Eve were pristine in the garden until they sinned. Then for years through the Law given to Moses humans just put off the punishment for their sin. They knew it was there, that it was wrong, yet they were unable to do anything to stop it from happening. Then at the right time Jesus came and did open heart surgery on humanity. He came in and showed that we didn’t have to continue to live that way. He broke the power of sin and death by living a perfect life and then dying in our place: He destroyed the root problem that the Law could never do. After a person accepts Christ’s work and makes Him Lord of their life, they become a new creation and although they will still deal with sin, they are no longer a slave to it like they were before. They are truly alive. God was willing to step into our mess and save us, and while we can’t save anyone, we could still step in and help. Who can you take the time to help, and in doing so point them back to the God who was willing to give everything for them? Are you willing to step in and do some “open heart surgery” on yourself, so that you can take that same freedom to others? Are you ready to get uncomfortable so that the world can be changed?