I was gone today, quizmastering actually, for the Central District quiz invitational.  And as an aside, anyone who has quizzed over the book of Acts and actually stuck it out to the end has my greatest admiration. 

Because of a dearth of babysitters, due to said quiz meet intersecting with a wedding involving a family (as well as many support players) in our church intersecting with Robb’s last day of school (yippee!!), I had to have one baby sitter in the morning and another in the afternoon.

Sometime on the am babysitter’s watch, the 6 year old got a nasty splinter in her foot.  Neither babysitter, working alone or together could get it out.  When I got home, she was lying on the couch and insisting that it didn’t hurt anymore and I didn’t have to take it out.  And I said, Oh honey, I have to take it out.  It’s dirty and nasty and if I leave it in it will cause all kinds of problems.  Your foot could get infected.

She asked me, what does infected mean?

I said, that’s when something dirty, that doesn’t belong, gets inside you and it starts to poison everything around it.  And it hurts worse and worse and pretty soon you won’t be able to run and jump and play.

It’s not that she didn’t believe me, but she was willing to risk the possibility of future pain to avoid the certainty of present pain. 

Well, it took two of us holding her down while she was screaming and writhing and while her big sister was crying and begging me to stop, but I got the splinter out.  It was deep, but it wasn’t really that hard to remove.

And I’ve been thinking two things:

The splinter wasn’t that hard to get out, and yet the mom was the only one who could do it.  I was the only one who could bring myself to inflict pain in order to circumvent pain.  (Keep in mind that these are adult babysitters – not 14 year olds).  And you know what?  If I was watching someone else’s kid and that happened, I would probably wait for mom too.  But there’s something about doing the best for your child, even though it’s painful.  And isn’t that what God is doing when He allows us to go through painful trials and circumstances?  Sometimes is He cutting out that dirty nasty crud that we’ve allowed, that we’re so used to that we don’t notice, that’s buried so deep that you can’t see it on the surface, so that it won’t poison the rest, so that we will not lose our ability to run and jump and play?

The other thought I had was how much like little children we are when we kick and struggle instead of submitting to the One who loves us best.  We know He loves us, we understand that trials have to come to refine our faith, but we whine and beg and plead and yell.  Just as I am glad that I didn’t give in to my daughter’s begging, I am glad our loving Daddy doesn’t give in to ours.  I am glad He goes forward and pulls out that splinter, cuts out that prideful attitude, pushes me ruthlessly to work through my fears, so that I can be being made perfect, because wholeness is worth the pain.  Christ-likeness will take major surgery.  But that’s what we are asking for when we ask God to use us, to make us into the people He wants us to be.