Friday, September 03, 2010

Invasive Surgery

The Bible uses language which leads me to think of God as a surgeon. He uses His "arrows" and "hand" to dig deep into our lives to correct the problems that we can scarcely describe, let alone repair. Listen to the psalmist speak:
“For Your arrows have sunk deep into me, And Your hand has pressed down on me.” (Psalms 38:2 NAS95)
Initially, this seems to us like bad news. We don't take kindly to the prospect of surgery. We warm to it reluctantly. We need to be convinced that it is absolutely necessary, and that we can trust this particular individual to do surgery on our person. This trust is based on some confidence and record of the surgeon's skills, and that he has the resources, tools, environment and support to do the work without complications. And even then, there are few of us who approach surgery without qualms.  
Our psalmist who testifies out of the circumstance of divine surgery - he is a sinner. Do I really want to go into surgery when the Surgeon knows that I am a scoundrel? As a sinner, we have violated the Surgeon's prescription and honor. He knows how likely we are to do it again. And he has my life in His hands. 
And yet it is this Surgeon alone who loves us enough to make the self-sacrificing investment in our lives. And it is this Surgeon alone who is able to successfully change us from the inside out. This divine action is our only hope. We need His arrows sunk deep into us, and we need His hand pressed down upon us.
Surgical language gets borrowed by those outside the medical community. The military speaks of "surgical strikes." These are lightning quick invasions into enemy territory, and then our soldiers/planes are gone even while the devastating effects are being realized. It might take a while for a population or government to even know who or what caused the damage. 
God the Surgeon not only operates on individual lives, but has acted as General as well in orchestrating a surgical strike into the enemy territory of this world by sending His Son into this world. Here is the Old Testament record of God's intent in Christ, using some of the same terms as in Psalm 38: 
“He has made My mouth like a sharp sword, In the shadow of His hand He has concealed Me; And He has also made Me a select arrow, He has hidden Me in His quiver.”
(Isaiah 49:2 NAS95) 
Most people didn't realize what had happened until Jesus was already returned to heaven. Many still don't get it. But as with God's surgical action in my heart, I see that God's military action in this world was necessary to deal a death blow to the enemy and establish His rule in our crucified Captain and resurrected King, Jesus.
And so for Christians who read Psalm 38 and Isaiah 49, we find that the surgical and military actions of God come together in Christ who rescues the world from death and the devil and changes us from the inside out. Psalms 38:2, and news of divine surgery is not a threat, but a promise. We need His work in our lives. We need it now. "Please Lord, drive your purposeful and powerful surgical instruments deep into me. Hold me back and down and close with Your loving and correcting hand."

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